Six from N.C. charged with drug possession
By Iva Butler | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Five men and a woman from Newbern, N.C., were charged by Alcoa officers with drug possession at an Alcoa hotel late Sunday night.
At least one of the suspects is or has been a member of the Blood, a North Carolina criminal gang, police said.
All six face charges of simple possession casual exchange of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana).
The six were arrested at 11:57 p.m. Sunday at America’s Best Value Inn, 2450 Airport Highway, Alcoa.
Numerous gift cards, a rifle and marijuana were all seized.
Officer Dustin Cook was patrolling in an unmarked car near the inn when he observed a light blue Mitsubishi with a man and woman sitting in the parking lot.
Odor of pot
The officer detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and observed the two passing what appeared to be a marijuana blunt back and forth.
The female was identified as Carmen C. Puente, 28, and the male was Ryshante Devon Graham, 23.
During the course of the investigation, Cook discovered that Puente’s boyfriend was staying in a room at the inn and had come out of the room during the stop to see what was going on.
Officers then knocked on the door of the room and conducted a preliminary search, in which Officer Doug Sparks located a half-smoked marijuana blunt between the two beds.
The four men in the room were identified as Aries Donte Harris, 22, Tyrone Jeronme Berry, 29, Dominic O’Neal Graham-Wells, 21, and Sherman Maurice Robbins, 26.
A background check through NCIC revealed Robbins was a criminal gang member in North Carolina. Robbins said he was an inactive member of the Blood gang.
Several gift cards suspicious
During a pat down, Robbins was found to possess several gift cards, which he said he had purchased from a friend but was unable to prove the cards belonged to him.
According to the report. Cook had learned in training from the Tactical Narcotic School Gang Fraud program that it was possible that the gift cards were stolen or obtained fraudulently.
All four males were taken in custody and transported to Blount County Jail. Graham and Puente were taken into custody as well. Normally they would have been issued a citation, but because all parties involved were from out of state they were arrested.
During the investigation it was determined that Berry was driving a black 2013 Hyundai Elantra that was a rental through Enterprise Car Rental.
Berry refused a request to search the car and an Enterprise official was contacted and said the car was rented to another person and Berry was not supposed to have the vehicle. She requested that officers impound the vehicle.
At that time the car was searched. Several thousands of dollars worth of clothing and shoes were discovered in the trunk. Robbins said he and Berry purchased the items in Greensboro, N.C., while on their way to Tennessee.
During the search of Puente’s vehicle, Sgt. Rodney Wilson discovered a rifle in the rear just below a spare tire. The Arisaka rifle, which was valued at $650, was seized.
Also seized were marijuana and gift cards.
All the suspects were jailed on $1,500 bonds each pending an appearance in Blount County General Sessions Court on Thursday.