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Durham Co. Deputy Charged With Drug Trafficking

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham authorities arrested five people, including a Durham County sheriff's deputy, on drug trafficking and possession charges after a raid on a local bar.

Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill said Saturday that his department's Anti-Crime and Narcotics Unit served a search warrant at LaZona Bar on North Roxboro Street about 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The bar's owner, Michael P. Owens, who is also a sheriff's deputy, 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.

"It's a shame. All the many law-enforcement officers who serve their community and do their duty with honor, and then one of our own tarnishes the badge and violates the trust people put in us as law-enforcement officers," Hill said. "We're very disappointed and we can't tolerate something like that."

Hill said that Owens, a deputy since February 2003, was suspended from his job at the sheriff's office civil division, where he was responsible for enforcing liens issued by the county Tax Administrator's Office.

He is currently out of jail under a $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. Each were being held on $50,000 bond.

The investigation is ongoing, authorities said, and it was not immediately clear if others could be charged.

Residents, such as Sandra Williams, who live nearby, have complained about the bar since Owens took ownership. Williams said she has had to duck from gunfire outside her nearby apartment.

Neighbor 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," Farrington said. "But as it goes nowadays, I'm not surprised by a lot of things."

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