NC mom ODs in Bass Pro Shops parking lot with baby in the car; both parents charged

January 31, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

A mother overdosed on drugs while her baby was in the car with her at the Bass Pro Shops parking lot in Cary on Monday, according to police.

Now, the mother and father have been arrested and charged with misdemeanor child abuse.

Kelly Lourie Bennett, 28, of Apex overdosed on narcotics after injecting herself with the drugs Monday afternoon, according to arrest records. Her 7-month-old child was also in the car, which was parked at the lot at 801 Bass Pro Lane off of Harrison Avenue.

Michael Edward Ward, 25, of Clayton is listed as the child’s father. According to arrest records, he allowed Bennett to inject herself while the child was with her.

Both parents were arrested Monday evening and charged with misdemeanor child abuse for allowing “substantial risk of physical injury” to the child.

Ward and Bennett were held in the Wake County Detention Center on Tuesday under a $10,000 bond and a $5,000 bond, respectively.

Bennett has a history of arrests in Wake County. She was arrested for assault in 2008; failure to return rental property twice in 2013; possession with intent to distribute meth precursor, conspiracy to manufacture meth and identity theft in 2015; and probation violation in 2016.

Ward also has a history of arrests in the Triangle. He was arrested for failure to work after being paid and possession with intent to distribute a meth precursor and possession of drug paraphernalia in Wake County in 2015; larceny in Durham County in 2016; probation violations in Wake County in 2016; and larceny, driving without a license and child abuse in Wake County in 2018.

MS-13 wants to force NC teen into violent gang in Honduras. Will he be deported?

January 31, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

When Maria Velasquez’ son was 10, he was forced to act as a messenger for the violent gang MS-13 in Honduras, according to documents filed in federal court this week in Charlotte.

The boy, now 14, knew that some of the envelopes he carried contained money, which he guessed was connected to the gang’s extortion or drug operations. He and his mother fled to the United States.

After crossing the border, Velasquez applied for asylum for herself and her son, who isn’t named in court documents due to his age.

An immigration judge denied her application, and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear her appeal. Velasquez and her lawyers are trying to reopen the case, but she has been ordered to report for deportation – on Wednesday, at 9 a.m. Her attorneys filed for an emergency stay on Monday.

Late Tuesday, Velasquez was granted a temporary stay and a hearing was scheduled for Thursday.

“Ms. Velasquez will be murdered if she returns to Honduras,” the court filing for the emergency stay said. “(Her son), if he is not murdered, will be forcibly kidnapped and compelled to live a life of crime in service to MS-13.”

They are particularly afraid of the 14-year-old boy’s paternal uncle, a local leader in MS-13. The uncle is childless and is “grooming” Velasquez’ son for the gang because of their family connection, the documents said.

The teenager saw his uncle giving orders to men with guns at his grandmother’s house, he wrote in the court documents. Sometimes, after he saw him or his men arguing with someone, he would hear at school that the person had been killed.

After Velasquez and her son left Honduras, her sister was killed by MS-13 members who confused her with Velasquez, the documents said. The killing led U.S. officials to reconsider Velasquez’ case, eventually determining that she did have a credible fear of persecution in Honduras.

But so far, her application for asylum has been unsuccessful.

People seeking asylum due to gang violence in Central America have had a particularly difficult time in Charlotte, where immigration cases are decided for North and South Carolina, according to a July 2017 story from The Marshall Project and The Washington Post.

The three Charlotte-based immigration judges decided 1,295 asylum cases on their merits between fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2017, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.

They granted asylum in 18 percent of those cases. Nationwide, immigration judges granted nearly half of asylum claims during the same period.

The United States grants asylum to people facing persecution in several categories – race, religion, nationality, political opinion and “membership in a particular social group.”

A family is one example of a social group, said Charlotte immigration attorney Andrés López, who is not representing Velasquez but has experience with asylum cases.

“The challenge is in the details – showing that the threats are being made because of this, and not just because the country is violent in general,” López said.

Documents in Velasquez’ case argue that her son faces particular danger because he is related to MS-13 members, and at least two of Velasquez’ own relatives – her sister and her nephew – have been killed by MS-13 members in the past few years.

Velasquez’ son is old enough to understand what he would face in Honduras.

“I do not want to hurt anyone or be involved in doing bad things,” the teenager said, according to court documents. “I do not want to be like my uncle.”

CMPD working with feds to fight ‘jackpotting’

January 31, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Authorities issued a financial alert about an international crime that’s now causing concern in the United States.

It’s called “jackpotting”. Authorities said thieves use special electronics to take over ATMs, causing them to spit out money.

NBC Charlotte checked to see how the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is responding. CMPD says there are no cases so far in Charlotte, but they are working with their federal partners to stay up to date.

Authorities said “jackpotting” involves criminals physically accessing an ATM then using malware or specialized electronics to take control of the machine.

“To either corrupt it or change how it works and then it’s spitting out money,” said Sergeant Robert Sprague with the financial crimes unit for CMPD.

In fact, the machine can spit out 40 bills in 23 seconds, according to authorities. The technique has already been used in other countries, and now federal authorities are putting banks in the U.S. on notice.

CMPD tells NBC Charlotte they’re working with the Secret Service to address the concern.

“Anytime we see new technology and new trends like that infiltrating our borders, there is some concern, and you start to keep your ear to the ground and see where it’s happening,” said Sergeant Sprague.

Meanwhile, CMPD is still battling other financial crimes, including the rise in skimmer devices on ATMs and gas pumps.

With “jackpotting”, the stolen cash isn’t coming from your personal bank account, just the machines. However, police said that doesn’t mean you won’t indirectly pay for it through bank fees.

“At the front, it might look like it’s the bank’s responsibility, and they’re the ones with the loss, but we all pay for it,” says Sergeant Sprague.

CMPD said they’re working on getting more training from the Secret Service, because they’re the first ones to deal with this new crime trend.

Copyright 2017 WCNC

What attorney says about suspension of UNC basketball player Jalek Felton

January 31, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

The University of North Carolina suspended Jalek Felton, a freshman on the men’s basketball team, on Tuesday. The university is in the process of gathering information related to a misconduct case involving the freshman guard, Felton’s attorney said during a brief interview.

“It’s not a sanction, and he’s not being punished for something,” said Kerry Sutton, a Durham-based attorney who is representing Felton. “That’s just something the school does while they gather information, and that’s what we’re doing at this point, as well – we’re gathering information.”

Sutton represented another UNC athlete, football player Allen Artis, last year after a fellow UNC student publicly accused him of rape. Artis was not criminally charged in that case, and a university investigation later cleared him of wrongdoing. He rejoined the football team last fall.

Felton, the nephew of former UNC All-American Raymond Felton, cannot attended classes or participate in any team-related activities during the suspension.

Sutton declined to detail the allegations against Felton. An online search revealed no pending court dates for him, which indicates that he has not been charged with a crime. Sutton’s firm specializes, in part, in representing college athletes and students facing Title IX or sexual misconduct allegations.

Citing federal privacy laws, the university declined to provide details for the cause for Felton’s suspension. The freshman guard did not travel with the team to Clemson for Tuesday’s game and there is no timetable for his return.

It has been a disappointing season for Felton, whose uncle led the Tar Heels to the national title in 2005. The top recruit in UNC’s freshmen class out of West Columbia, S.C., Felton has averaged 2.9 points in 9.7 minutes per game.

UNC coach Roy Williams has often praised Felton’s talent, he was a top 30 recruit in the country, but has just as often been frustrated with Felton’s inconsist play.

Felton was expected to play a larger role this season. The 6-2 guard had 12 points in UNC’s win over Ohio State on Dec. 23 but he has not really been a factor in ACC play. He has not scored in five of UNC’s first nine ACC games. He had two points in 4 minutes in UNC’s 95-91 overtime loss to N.C. State on Saturday.

Ray Gronberg contributed.

1 Raleigh townhouse, 2 days, 4 drug arrests near NCSU campus

January 31, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

Narcotics investigators arrested a North Carolina State University student on drug charges last week at a townhouse near the campus, and they returned there early Tuesday and arrested three more people.

According to the university’s online directory, two of the three new suspects – Paolo Andres De-Urquidi, 22, and Nabhas Alakkat, 21, – also are students.

The third person arrested when police went to the house about 2:30 a.m. – Nicole Ashley Jones, 19 – is not a student.

The arrests of the trio Tuesday and the arrest last week of Jacob Edward Pace, 20, a junior from Julian, on the Guilford-Randolph county line, involved a range of drugs that included marijuana, LSD, several prescription medications, psilocybin and hash oil.

De Urquidi, who was booked into the Wake County Detention Center with the townhouse at 1914 Fox Sterling Drive as his permanent address, was charged with possession of about 3 ounces of pot; 1 ounce of psilocybin; about 1.2 ounces of concentrated THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana; oxycodone pills; promethazine pills, and lisdexamfetamine pills.

Alakkat, who told authorities that his permanent address is in Waxhaw, was accused of illegally having alprazolam, LSD and a small amount of marijuana.

Jones, who was booked with an Apex address, was accused of having LSD.

Pace was charged last week with having marijuana and THC.

All four were accused of using the townhouse to keep and sell drugs.

Police had not completed reports on the overnight arrests, a spokeswoman said Tuesday morning, and it was not clear why the arrests happened on different days.

North Carolina couple arrested for producing child porn, child rape

January 31, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

A husband and wife have been accused of producing child pornography and raping minor children, according to authorities.

 

On Saturday, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a residence on Old Folkstone Road in Sneads Ferry regarding a report that child pornography was in the home.

 

According to the OCSO, Matthew Douglas Maynard and Diane Louise Maynard, who is named in warrants as Diane Louise McCracken, are accused of being involved with sex acts with minors and on at least one occasion video recorded the acts. The Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit is continuing the investigation and additional charges are anticipated.

 

Matthew and Diane Maynard, both 34 years old of Old Folkstone Road, Sneads Ferry were arrested by detectives and taken before a magistrate. Both were charged with two counts of felony first degree sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of felony statutory rape of a child by an adult.

 

The two children involved were known to the couple, authorities said.

 

They were transported to the Onslow County Detention Center under a $200,000 secured bond each.

 

Matthew Maynard was previously convicted of possessing stolen goods in 2001, according to N.C. Department of Public Safety. She does not have any previous convictions in North Carolina, according to NCDPS.

 

Both Matthew and Diane Maynard will appear in court again on Feb. 19, according to court documents. He will be represented by Tim Oswalt while she will be represented by Stuart Popkin.

 

Anyone with information about this incident may contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113, Detective Parrish at charles_parrish@onslowcountync.gov, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2018-001497 when calling. Crime Stoppers offers cash reward of up to $2,500 for information that is deemed of value or assistance to law enforcement. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity.

Mistrial declared in trial of man arrested in West Texas in North Carolina kidnapping case

January 31, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times
Published 3:36 p.m. MT Jan. 29, 2018 | Updated 5:08 p.m. MT Jan. 29, 2018

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A mistrial was declared Monday hours into the trial of a man who was arrested after a high-speed chase near Van Horn in 2016 after he was accused of kidnapping and sexual assaulting a 16-year-old North Carolina girl.

A little more than three hours into the trial of William Geoffrey Thacker, 205th District Court Judge Francisco X. Dominguez declared a mistrial after state prosecutors played an interrogation video conducted by Texas Rangers in which Thacker discusses his use of drugs, previous convictions, a theft case and being out on parole.

Defense lawyers Matthew and Karl Dekoatz motioned for the mistrial, arguing that the jurors had been tainted about Thacker’s character because in the video he discusses issues not related to the charges he currently faces.

More: Car fleeing Texas DPS crashes into semitrailer on Interstate 10 near Anthony, Texas

Prosecutors Jessica Vazquez and Patrick Sloane countered that a mistrial was not warranted since the judge could instruct the jury to disregard the comments on Thacker’s criminal and drug histories.

Dominguez declared the mistrial after ruling that instructing the jury to disregard the comments would not solve the issue. He added that he did not believe the mistake on behalf of the prosecutors was intentional. 

A new trial date was set for Feb. 26, according to court records.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers declined to comment.

Thacker, who was 27 years old at the time of the alleged kidnapping, is charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child and an additional charge of trafficking of a child to engage in sexual conduct, according to court records.

More: Search continues for autistic 7-year-old boy from US missing in Juárez near Rio Grande

He is accused of kidnapping the girl May 18, 2016, from a parking lot of a Dollar General store in Burlington, N.C., according to testimony and court documents. The two then made their way west on Interstate 10 to Mississippi, where Thacker said he has family, and finally into Texas.

The El Paso Times does not identify possible victims in sexual assault cases.

Culberson County Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted to pull over Thacker on June 2, 2016, between Sierra Blanca and Van Horn, according to testimony.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jesus Garcia testified that Thacker was involved in a high-speed with Culberson County Sheriff’s Office deputies, which resulted in the deputies shooting the tire of Thacker’s vehicle.

Investigators then learned that a warrant had been issued for Thacker in connection with the alleged kidnapping of the girl.

Dashcam video from a law enforcement vehicle that showed the moments after the chase was shown to the jury.

In the video, the girl tells law enforcement officials while in the vehicle with Thacker that she was there of her own free will and that she was scared due to the chase.

When questioned by law enforcement officers away from Thacker, the girl begins crying. She then tells officers, “I want to go home. I want to go home. … Please don’t tell him (Thacker) I said that. … I told him to pull over, please pull over.”

Garcia testified that the girl’s demeanor changed once she was separated from Thacker.

More: Man, 70, arrested in sexual assault of a child case

The next video shown to jurors was Thacker’s interrogation conducted by Texas Rangers.

Thacker claims in the video that the girl called him and asked him to pick her up at the Dollar General store.

Thacker adds that the girl then allegedly said she wanted to go with him when he told her he was leaving town for a couple of weeks to get away and probably was going to Mississippi to visit his sister.

Thacker tells law enforcement officers multiple times during the interrogation that he did not have a sexual relationship with the girl.

Thacker, who is a convicted sex offender, then tell officers in the video that he is on parole, had previously been convicted of a crime and smoked marijuana with the girl and mutual friends in the past.

Defense lawyers then motioned for the mistrial, which was granted by Dominguez.

Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; aamartinez@elpasotimes.com; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.

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Drive-by shooting on Hewitt Street in Greensboro sends teen to hospital

January 31, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

GREENSBORO — A bullet struck a 17-year-old boy Monday afternoon during a drive-by shooting on Hewitt Street.

The teenager rode as a passenger in a white 4-door sedan between Pineland Road and Fir Place, when a cream-colored sports-utility vehicle drove up behind him.

Greensboro Police Lt. James Golden said someone inside the SUV then fired a weapopn and shattered the glass of the car’s back window. A bullet punctured the teenager’s abdomen.

Golden said the driver of the victim’s vehicle continued to maneuver toward Norwalk Street and pulled into the parking lot of Flow Lexus Automotive and and ran inside for help. Store employees called 911 at 1:16 p.m.

Paramedics transported the teenager, who was alert and conscious, to Moses Cone Hospital.

Golden said that the suspect’s vehicle also drove toward Norwalk Street but officers don’t know where the SUV drove after that.

Officers worked Monday afternoon to gather shell casings from the roadway. Investigators took photographs of the victim’s vehicle in the parking lot.

Greensboro Police are investigating whether Monday’s shooting could be connected to a vandalism case on Sunday, because, Golden said, the teen was a possible suspect in Sunday’s vandalism case.

Police records indicate three reports of vandalism Sunday on Fairfax Road, Lees Chapel Road and Guilford Avenue.

Contact Danielle Battaglia at 336-373-4476 and follow @dbattagliaNR on Twitter.

Wilmington mayor talks crime prevention and growth during State of the City address

January 30, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime
Mayor Bill Saffo presenting State of City Address (Photo: Kirsten Gutierrez/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo gave his annual State of the City address Monday evening. He reviewed major accomplishments from last year including crime prevention and growth.

Some of the major accomplishments include completing the Riverwalk this past November, the redevelopment of the Water Street Parking Deck which is now ready for construction and many road improvement projects which are either complete or underway.

The Love Grove Bridge project, which has been a concerns since the 1970s, will be complete this spring.

“We appreciate all of the hard work that went into this project. Especially to the citizens in the persistence that they told us that we want to make sure that this bridge is build and it is finally being done,” Mayor Saffo said.

As for crime last year it dropped across the city.

“I’m happy to report that overall crime in our community continues to fall,” Mayor Saffo said. “It has dropped an additional 8% over last year. This is our success story and it’s due to the efforts of the men and women of the Wilmington Police Department. Chief Ralph Evangelous and the citizen’s who help us fight crime every single day.”

Wilmington Downtown Incorporated reports the downtown area has attracted 45 businesses and created more than 300 jobs in the last year.

For more on what was discussed, click here.

North Carolina couple arrested for child porn, child rape

January 30, 2018 in Bail Bonding, Crime

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina have charged a husband and wife with child pornography and rape of minor children.
    
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Office told local media outlets that deputies responding to a report about a residence in Sneads Ferry last Saturday found Matthew Douglas Maynard and Diane Louise Maynard involved in sex acts with minors.
    
The sheriff’s office said the children were taken from the home and placed in the care of the Department of Social Services.
    
The Maynards, both 34, are charged with two counts of felony first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of felony statutory rape of a child. They’re each jailed, with secured bond set at $200,000, and were scheduled to appear in court on Monday. It’s not known if they have attorneys.
 

© 2018 Associated Press