Dozens charged, ABC permits suspended at Lenoir convenience store following undercover sting

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CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — A Lenoir convenience store has had its ABC permits suspended for 30 days after an investigation uncovered illegal drugs, illegal gambling, and netted many arrests.

According to the North Carolina ABC Commission, the Gamewell Superette on 2830 Morganton Blvd SW has held ABC permits since April 2020. The store’s permits were suspended Friday.

Lenoir Police Department and agents with North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement conducted a joint investigation investigating illegal activity at the business as well as at Fastop on 215 Blowing Rock Blvd. as part of “Operation Game Over” launched on January 29.

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According to Lenoir Police, search warrants were obtained for Gamewell Superette as well as a home on the 100 block of Torrence Circle. Forty suspects are facing charges ranging from felony gaming, carrying a concealed weapon, and drug trafficking.

Criminal drug charges were filed against several employees and patrons at the Gamewell Superette. In addition, the employees and store manager were charged with operating illegal video games and slot machines.

Some of those charged and their charges include:

Falguni Patel Store Employee/LLC Member/Manager Delivery of drug paraphernalia, operation of an illegal video gaming machine, possession of illegal slot machines
Luke Robson Employee Delivery of drug paraphernalia, operation of an illegal video gaming machine, possession of illegal slot machines
Shay Morrison Employee Operation of illegal video gaming machine and possession of illegal slot machines
Antonia Williams Employee Conspiracy to sell and deliver methamphetamine, operation of an illegal video gaming machine, possession of illegal slot machines
Cynthia Benfield Employee Delivery of drug paraphernalia, operation of an illegal video gaming machine, possession of illegal slot machines
Jonathan Holtsclaw Employee Delivery of drug paraphernalia, operation of an illegal video gaming machine, possession of illegal slot machines
Israel Aguilera Patron Sale of methamphetamine
Kadeem Battle Patron Sale of methamphetamine
Michael Debeve Patron Conspiracy to sell and deliver methamphetamine
Jamie Deal Patron Sale of heroin
Beverly Weatherford Patron Conspiracy to sell and deliver heroin
Mavis Seeds Patron Sale of methamphetamine
Christopher Dula Patron Attempt to sell and deliver heroin
Source: North Carolina ABC Commission

Investigators say that at the time of this writing, 26 of the 40 suspects were arrested as well as an additional three people found to have outstanding arrest warrants. Illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia were also recovered during the operation.

According to the ABC Board, the suspension for Gamewell Superette will end on Sunday, November 28, 2021, at the legal hour to begin sales on Sundays. The suspension can end early if the business works with local and alcohol law enforcement to create a plan to eliminate problems, or if the business owners attend the monthly ABC Commission meeting on November 10 at 10 a.m. and explain to commissioners why they should consider releasing the suspension early.

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