Local News

Durham County Deputy, 4 Others Charged With Drug Trafficking

Posted October 14, 2006

— Durham authorities arrested five people, including a Durham County deputy sheriff, on drug trafficking and possession charges after a raid on a local restaurant Friday night.

Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill said Saturday that his department's Anti-Crime and Narcotics Unit served a search warrant at LaZona Bar on N. Roxboro Street about 7:30 p.m. Friday. The bar's owner, Michael P. Owens, was charged with trafficking cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine by sell and delivery, and maintaining a building for the purposes of sell and delivery of cocaine.

The sheriff's department has suspended Owens from duty, said Hill. He was jailed on $50,000 bond.

Also arrested were: Sergio Garcia Perez, 23, of 3106 E. Geer St.; Jose Manuel Ramirez, 21, of 453 California St. in Belhaven; Mario Garcia Segura, 21, of 3106 E. Geer St.; and Isidoro Vallinas Domingues, 25, of 3106 E. Geer St. All three were charged with trafficking in cocaine by possessing more than 28 grams but less than 200 grams. The three were held on $50,000 bond.

Neighbors said that since Owens took over the pool hall and turned it into a nightclub, the place was crawling with criminals. More than once, neighbor Sandra Williams said she's ducked from gunfire outside her nearby apartment.

Nearby, Walter Farrington said he will file his third police report in as many months for damage to his truck.

"Being law enforcement, I wouldn't expect that out of a deputy," said Farrington. "But as it goes nowadays, I'm not surprised by a lot of things."

Owens started with the Durham County Sheriff's Office three years ago. He worked in the Civil Division.

The investigation is ongoing, and there is no word if more arrests are expected.

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