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Drug bust nets three arrests

WINDSOR – Three Windsor men stand charged with a bevy of crimes, including one for an alleged assault on government officials.

Keith Andre Speller, 23 of 213 Greens Cross Road, Derrick Pernell Norfleet, 26 of 503 College Street, and Julius Derrick Swain, 28 of 1626 Cooper Hill Road, were arrested Sept. 28 after law enforcement officers witnessed what appeared to be a drug transaction taking place at a Windsor business.

Speller was charged with one count each of possession with intent to sell and deliver crack/cocaine, maintaining a place to keep, store and sell a controlled substance, trafficking in cocaine by possession, reckless driving to endanger, using a motor vehicle to elude arrest and resisting a public officer. He also stands charged with two counts of assault on a government official with a deadly weapon.

Speller was placed in the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail under a $400,000 bond.

Norfleet is jailed under a $100,000 bond on the charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver crack/cocaine and two counts of resisting a public officer.

Swain faces a charge of possession with intent to sell and deliver crack/cocaine.

The charges against the three men came after Detective Sgt. Frank Timberlake of the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office and Chief Jimmy Barmer of the Aulander Police Department witnessed what was believed to be a drug transaction in the parking lot of a Windsor business.

After observing this transaction, Timberlake and Barmer went to investigate at which time a 1984 Dodge Aries, believed to be involved in the drug transaction, sped off from the parking lot after being approached by the officers. The Bertie Sheriff’s Narcotics Division had received previous information on this vehicle concerning the sale of narcotics and the driver who officers knew to be Speller.

Timberlake and Barmer gave chase, during which time the officers attempted to pass the vehicle and stop it between two police cars in order to prevent endangering innocent motorists. It was at this time that Speller allegedly attempted to run the officers off the road with his vehicle on several occasions.

As the chase continued, officers from the Windsor Police Department and Bertie Sheriff’s Office joined the pursuit, one that ceased behind a residence at the end of Rhodes Ave. Speller stopped the vehicle at that point where officers observed the front seat passenger, later determined as Norfleet, fleeing the car and running into the woods.

Norfleet was apprehended by Barmer following a short foot chase.

All occupants of the vehicle, including the rear seat passenger (Swain), were arrested and charged with drug violations. Officers observed Norfleet throw to the ground what is believed to be approximately one-half ounce of crack cocaine in two packages.

Because of an ongoing investigation concerning Speller, a search warrant was issued for his home. K-9 “Dakota” and his handler Charlie Harmon were called in.

“Dakota” sniffed out a jar in the kitchen that was investigated by BCSO Sgt. Harris Williams. The jar contained over 200 grams (approximately seven ounces) of cocaine, one-half powder and one-half crack.

In addition, over $2,400 in US currency was recovered along with

digital scales and other drug paraphernalia.

Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins praised the work of Timberlake and Barmer, saying they went beyond normal routine in their investigation.

“Based on their instincts as well as previous knowledge turned up on the Speller subject, the officers continued their investigation by searching the residence and recovering an additional seven ounces of cocaine,” Atkins said. “This is seven ounces of cocaine that will not hit our streets and poison our community.”

Despite a wild ride in chasing, and even ducking the suspect’s attempts to steer his vehicle towards the officers, Timberlake was grateful that no one, including the suspects, were injured.

“As law enforcement officers, we never like to see anyone get hurt,” Timberlake noted. “It is a good feeling for an officer to know that when something happens that takes immediate action to combat, the officers in Bertie County are ready, prepared and working in concert with the same goal in mind of keeping the public safe and arresting those who choose to sell this poison or harm our communities.”

Atkins thanked the other departments that assisted the Sheriff’s Office in making these arrests n the Windsor Police Department, North Carolina Highway Patrol and the Bertie Probation and Parole Department.