Harnett Man Linked To Fentanyl Deaths Of 4 People, Authorities Say

HARNETT COUNTY – A Harnett County man with a history of law enforcement interaction for the past 20 years has been indicted by a grand jury for distributing fentanyl that killed four people on the morning of March 28, 2020.

The jury returned a true bill of indictment on Feb. 26 charging Gerard LaSalle McLean, 37, of 446 Raynor McLamb Road, Bunnlevel, with four counts each of death by distribution and aggravated death by distribution.

“There were two scenes,” explained Harnett County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Aaron Meredith. The first victim, Shannon Lynette McLean, was located at 112 Blake St. in Lillington at 12:49 a.m. Three other victims were found dead in a car located at 242 Nutgrass Road in Bunnlevel at 7:37 a.m.

There were others who overdosed at both locations and survived,” Meredith shared.

The indictment alleges Gerard McLean sold fentanyl to a person identified as Courtney McLean. Investigators say this substance was ingested by Shannon McLean and she died as a result.

While looking into this indictment, the Record learned that Gerard McLean has three other related indictments stemming from his alleged distribution of fentanyl in March 2020.

Lt. R.S. Jackson, of the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office and a homicide detective in the criminal investigation division, charged Gerard McLean with three counts of death by distribution on March 28, 2020. He was arrested on May 6, 2020. He has been held under a $600,000 secured bond since that time. Based on this arrest and a prior drug conviction in Cumberland County, the jury agreed on charges of aggravated death by distribution in the deaths of Shannon McLean, Ervin Bass Jr., Laketa Vinson and Brittany Shaw.

The last three indictments were returned on July 6 and served on Gerard McLean in the Harnett County Detention Center the following day.

The indictments allege that the fentanyl was purchased from Gerard McLean by Brittany Shaw and ingested by Bass, Vinson and Shaw, resulting in their deaths.

All four of Gerard McLean’s alleged victims died on March 28, 2020.

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Man arrested for possessing a pound of liquid fentanyl in Sanford Man arrested for possessing a pound of liquid fentanyl in Sanford

During the traffic stop, narcotics agents discovered a liquid fentanyl mixture, marijuana, and fentanyl that was individually wrapped in Brandon Currie’s wallet.

A man was arrested for carrying a pound of liquid fentanyl in Sanford on Monday.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Brandon Currie during a traffic stop on Third Street in Sanford.

During the traffic stop, narcotics agents discovered a liquid fentanyl mixture, marijuana, and fentanyl that was individually wrapped in Currie’s wallet.

The fentanyl mixture weighed over 500 grams, a little more than one pound.

Currie, 39, was arrested and charged with:

  • Trafficking opioid by transport
  • Trafficking opioid by possession
  • Possession of controlled substance within 1000 feet of a school
  • Simple possession schedule VI controlled substance
  • Maintaining a vehicle for sale of controlled substance
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of marijuana paraphernalia

Currie was issued a $100,000 bond on Tuesday by judge.

Rutherford County man found guilty for mailing drugs that killed Iowa vicitm

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa announced that a man was found guilty after mailing heroin and fentanyl that killed a man in Dubuque, Iowa.

According to evidence in the trial, James Adam Earwood, 38, of Lake Lure, North Carolina mailed a package of heroin and fentanyl to another person on November 18, 2021. Officials said that Earwood was living in North Carolina at the time and the victim was living in Dubuque, Iowa. 

The victim used heroin and fentanyl and overdosed in the parking lot of a local business in Dubuque and survived. According to officials, one month later the victim received another package of heroin and fentanyl in the mail from Earwood on December 17, 2021. The victim used the heroin and fentanyl and died shortly after.  He was found dead by hotel staff in a hotel in Dubuque, Iowa. 

Evidence revealed that Earwood was using social media platforms on the dark web to arrange transactions of heroin and fentanyl with other people. Investigators tracked down at least one other package of heroin and fentanyl that Earwood had sent.

Earwood is being held by the United States Marshals until he can be sentenced.  A sentencing date has not been set yet.

Read the full story on the WSPA TV7 website.

Two arrested after nearly 120 pounds of fentanyl seized in traffic stop, Iredell County Sheriff’s Office says

Officials seized enough of the drug to kill every person in North Carolina more than two times over.

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — Two people are in jail after the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office seized almost 120 pounds of suspected fentanyl mixed with cocaine during a traffic stop on Sunday. 

The two people, one from Mexico and the other from New Mexico were traveling on I-77 from Charlotte to Philadelphia in a tractor-trailer when they were stopped by the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Interstate Criminal Enforcement Team (ICE) for a traffic violation. 

During the traffic stop, ICSO K-9 Groot indicated the presence of narcotics in the tractor-trailer. After searching the vehicle, deputies located 120 lbs of suspected fentanyl mixed with cocaine, which has a street value of $3.75 million.

Deputies said that they seized enough of the drug to kill every person in the entire state of North Carolina – two and a half times over.

Read the full article and watch the video on the WCNC website.

Statesville man charged in 2022 drug overdose death, sheriff says

A 26-year-old was taken to Iredell Memorial Hospital due to a drug overdose and later died, deputies said.

STATESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) – A deadly 2022 fentanyl overdose in Iredell County has led to charges being filed more than a year later.

Deputies were called to Hickory Highway in Statesville on July 23, 2022, for a possible drug overdose, according to the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

A 26-year-old was taken to Iredell Memorial Hospital due to a drug overdose and later died, deputies said.

During the investigation, 26-year-old Dakoda Michael Drake, of Statesville, was identified as the person who provided fentanyl to the victim, according to the sheriff’s office.

“After months of waiting, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office recently received the Toxicology Report indicating the victim’s cause of death was confirmed as a Fentanyl overdose,” a news release stated.

An arrest warrant was obtained for Drake and he was arrested on Nov. 24 for felony death by distribution, deputies said.

He was given a $350,000 secured bond on this charge.

Read the full article on the WBTV website.

They Were Go-To Dealers for College Students. Now They’re Headed to Prison.

A trial in federal court last week stemming from the overdose of a 23-year-old Raleigh man exposed the inner workings of a drug-dealing duo and their college-student clients.

The weekend of March 4, 2023, was a big one in the Triangle. 

Big for thousands of students and alums because longtime basketball rivals Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were facing off. Big for crowded restaurants and bars that had the Saturday night game in UNC’s Dean Dome on their wide-screen TVs.

And big for Cye Frasier and his girlfriend, Carlisa Allen, who expected to bring in $10,000 in drug sales that weekend from their primary customer base: college students.

That weekend was the first time Josh Zinner, a former UNC-Wilmington student from Raleigh, purchased directly from Frasier and Allen, according to testimony last week in federal court. His roommate, a former UNC-Chapel Hill student and Phi Gamma Delta member, referred him to Frasier.

Continue reading “They Were Go-To Dealers for College Students. Now They’re Headed to Prison.”

A double-edged sword: North Carolina expands the fight against fentanyl

Changes to a North Carolina law make it easier to prosecute people who distribute drugs, including fentanyl, if the drug user dies

Overview:

Carolina Public Press interviewed six parents of children who died and the partner of a man who did as well. Fentanyl, a powerful narcotic painkiller, was involved in each death. Often, those close to the victims reported, prosecutors declined to bring charges for death by distribution, saying the evidence was not strong enough.

Under a state law that takes effect next month, anyone who provides certain drugs to a person who dies after taking them may be prosecuted for second-degree murder — whether they received money for the drugs or shared them freely. 

Death by distribution” first became a crime in North Carolina in 2019. Originally, the law applied only to people who got paid for drugs that later proved fatal. In September, legislators expanded the law’s reach to include anyone who provides certain drugs, including fentanyl, when those drugs result in an overdose death.

Carolina Public Press interviewed six parents of children who died and the partner of a man who died as well. Fentanyl, a powerful narcotic painkiller, was involved in each death. Most of the families reported that prosecutors declined to bring charges for death by distribution, saying that the evidence was not strong enough. 

The family members, as well as people who study drug use or work to combat it, are divided over whether the law’s approach is good or bad. Those in favor described death by distribution charges as essential to bring justice in fentanyl death cases. Critics argued that the strategy could unjustly criminalize and disproportionately affect substance users and people of color. 

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More than two dozen people charged in North Carolina drug trafficking conspiracy, officials say

A federal indictment was unsealed yesterday charging 25 defendants in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy, according to Middle District of North Carolina United States Attorney Sandra J. Hairston.

The indictment, which followed a two-year investigation, charges the individuals involved with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine hydrochloride in multiple counties in North Carolina, including Guilford, Randolph, Durham, and Montgomery counties.

If convicted, individual defendants face penalties ranging from up to 20 years, five years to 40 years, or 10 years to life, for narcotics conspiracy, distribution and possession with intent to distribute – depending on the drug amounts involved in the offenses.

You can read the article and watch the video on the WXII 12 News website.

Father, son charged after 2-plus pounds of fentanyl found during Lee County traffic stop

SANFORD, N.C. (WNCN) — A father and son were arrested and charged with trafficking opioids after a traffic stop Thursday.

Lee County sheriff’s deputies made the traffic stop on Greenwood Road which is about 8 miles south of Sanford as part of an active drug investigation, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies found about 2.2 pounds of fentanyl in the vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office.

Robert Bernard Fox Sr., 54, and his son, Robert Bernard Fox II, 23, were arrested and both charged with the following:

  • Trafficking Opioid by Transport,
  • Trafficking Opioid by Possession,
  • Possess with Intent to Sell and Deliver Schedule II Controlled Substance,
  • Maintaining a Vehicle for the Sale of Narcotics, and
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

The pair were brought before a Lee County Magistrate and were issued $250,000 secured bonds.

As a result of this traffic stop, narcotics agents, assisted by the Sanford Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, executed a search warrant in the 800 block of McKenzie Park Drive.

During the search warrant, agents found Shondell Rasheed Bethea, 25, inside the residence.

Bethea was wanted for failing to appear in court on charges of possessing with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine, larceny of a motor vehicle, and two counts of breaking and entering.

Bethea was found to be in possession of two firearms, one of which was entered stolen by the Sanford Police Department, the sheriff’s office said.

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