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