Major heroin bust in Bladen nets two arrests

By: W. Curt Vincent -

ELIZABETHTOWN — The largest heroin seizure on Bladen County history went down on Wednesday on N.C. 211 between Bladenboro and Clarkton.

According to Sheriff Jim McVicker, narcotics investigators with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office seized 1,450 bindles of heroin during a traffic stop. He said the vehicle was stopped for speeding by Trooper J.K. Freeman with the State Highway Patrol, who requested the assistance of the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Kahn and his handler Deputy Chandler Willoughby.

“Kahn alerted on the vehicle and a search revealed the drugs,” McVicker said.

“This was a joint effort between our office, New Hanover and Brunswick County sheriff’s offices along with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol,” McVicker added. “This is a great example of multiple agencies working together to accomplish a single goal. I appreciate the help of our fellow agencies. No single agency, department or office can deal with illegal drug activity alone.”

Arrested were:

—Ronald Campbell, 38, of Clarkton, who was booked into the Bladen County Jail under a $250,000 secured bond. He has been charged with trafficking heroin by possession and trafficking heroin by transportation, possession with intent to sell and deliver a Schedule II narcotic (heroin) and manufacturing heroin by repackaging.

— Tanisha Simpkins, 34, of Bladenboro, who was placed in the Bladen County Jail under a $225,000 secured bond. She was charged with the same offenses in addition to being charged with maintaining a vehicle for transportation of a controlled substance.

McVicker said Simpkins is believed to be one of several major heroin suppliers in Bladen, Brunswick and New Hanover counties.

Heroin is sold in a one dosage unit called a bindle. This is a small plastic bag that holds the drug in a powder form. The powder is heated and becomes a liquid and is then injected by a syringe. A single dosage unit (bindle) has a street value of between $8.00 and $15.00 with the average price being $12.00, based on supply and demand. The Wednesday night seizure of 1,450 bindles has a street value of approximately $17,400.00.

“Heroin is packaged in small plastic bags called bindles — 10 bindles is called a bundle and five bundles are called a clip,” said McVicker. “We are seeing a huge growth in the use of heroin in this area because it is easy to obtain and cheaper than prescription narcotics such as Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicadin, and Opana’s.

“For the past several years the abuse of prescription synthetic opiates was the drug of choice but as it has become harder to obtain and the cost has risen, users have switched to heroin because of availability and price,” he added. “What makes the use of heroin even more dangerous is how it is introduced into the body. Syringes and needles can cause Hepatitis and HIV through the shared use of needles. Also, users are not careful in how they dispose of used needles and they can be found by children or others — and then you have the possibility of an innocent person being stuck by a needle and possibly contracting Hepatitis or HIV.”

McVicker said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests and charges are expected.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent