Local News

Fifteen Goodyear employees charged after undercover drug raid

Posted March 30, 2010 10:53 p.m. EDT
Updated March 31, 2010 4:34 p.m. EDT

— Narcotics agents arrested more than a dozen employees at the Goodyear tire plant in Fayetteville Tuesday evening as a result of an undercover sting operation.

Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler said investigators began investigating after Goodyear corporate executives tipped them off.

"We got leads they were bringing drugs into the plant,” Butler said.

Since last August, undercover narcotics agents have been able to purchase marijuana, cocaine and numerous prescription drugs from employees inside the Ramsey Street plant, investigators said.

Fifteen employees were arrested:

  • Christopher Ward, 25, 6607 Blake Road in Stedman, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a vehicle for the sale and delivery of marijuana, a total of seven felony charges. Bond for Ward was set at $500.
  • Michael Fricks, 39, of 783 Hedgelawn Way in Fayetteville, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the sale and delivery of marijuana, a total of eight felony charges. He was being held under an $8,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Ronald Sulser, 57, of 127 Treetop Drive in Fayetteville, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, a total of three felony charges. He was being held under a $10,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Robert Thurman was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and trafficking opium by sale and delivery, nine felony charges.
  • Christopher Shirley, 26, of 203 Mile Court in Fayetteville, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, sale and delivery of marijuana, three felony charges. He was being held under a $5,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Jeffrey Whitt, 39, of 210 Gore Road in Shannon, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, a total of three felony charges. He was being held under a $15,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Mary Stone, 24, of 3511Greenwood Drive in Fayetteville, was charged with trafficking, delivering and selling opium and possession with intent to sell and deliver opiates, a total of six felony charges. She was being held under a $14,000 bond.
  • Tony McKoy, 46, 2015 Poinciana Lane in Fayetteville, was charged with trafficking, selling and delivering opium, three felony charges. He was being held under an $5,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Larry Abrams, 29, of 6069 Charles Ave. in Fayetteville, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, three felony charges. He was being held under a $6,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Gloria Locklear, 43, of 3922 Constance Road in Hope Mills, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, three felony charges. She was being held under a $5,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Joseph Brown, 42, of 7039 Old U.S.-421 in Lillington, was charged with trafficking, possession, delivery and selling opium and conspiracy, a total of four felony charges. He was being held under a $13,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Almadie Allison Whitt, 37, of 210 Gore Road in Shannon, was charged with trafficking, possession, delivery and sale of opium and conspiracy, a total of four felony charges.She was being held under a $6,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • William Beckham III, 28, 1140 Acorn St. in Fayetteville, was charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver Ecstasy a total of three felony counts. He was being held under a $10,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Dachonne Moorehead, 29, of 93 Lindley Court in Cameron, was charged with trafficking, possession, delivery and sale of cocaine and trafficking by transport of cocaine as well as conspiracy, a total of five felony charges. He was being held under a $7,000 bond on Tuesday.
  • Michael McKethan, 29, of 2745 Coronada Parkway, Fayetteville, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana.

A warrant was issued for William Chad Devotie, who is not employed by Goodyear, who is charged with trafficking cocaine, possession, sale and delivery of cocaine and trafficking by transport and conspiracy. Investigators said he was supplying drugs to Goodyear employees. Devotie remained at large on Tuesday.

Leroy Morel, a Goodyear employee for 18 years, said Tuesday that he has seen drug use at the plant.

"Managers do let it go,” he said.

Morel said drug dealing on the job was well known.

"You tell the supervisors, ‘You need to get this guy outta here.’ And you tell the union, ‘You need to get this guy outta here, because he is going to get somebody hurt,’" he said.

Vickie Faircloth, a 15-year plant employee, said she too knew of drug activity at the plant.

"I have heard a lot of rumors,” she said.

Butler said the investigation is ongoing, and Goodyear has been cooperative during the undercover operation.

"They have allowed us to do and work within the plant to bring an end to this,” he said.

Goodyear Plant Manager Tim Frosell said the company was grateful to the sheriff's department for its investigation.

“The health and safety of all associates is our top priority, and we will not tolerate any illegal activity in the workplace," Frosell said in a written statement.

All of the suspects arrested Tuesday were transported to the Cumberland County Detention Center for processing.