WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A man was booked under a $10.255 million bond after more than 1,000 pills were seized, according to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.
“I think we’re getting worse everywhere — the whole country,” said Sheriff Ed McMahon, reflecting on the opioid epidemic.
According to the sheriff’s office, its Vice and Narcotic Unit recently concluded a three-month investigation involving the sale and distribution of counterfeit pressed pills laced with fentanyl, which were being sold as “pharmaceutical grade”. It started off as a tip from a concerned community member.
“We cannot do this job by ourselves. It’s the community,” said Sheriff McMahon. “We all want the same thing — we all want a safer community. When our community trusts us and gives us information, my guarantee is we are going to do everything in our power to follow up with the investigation and we are going to put drug dealers in jail.”
The sheriff’s office said detectives stopped and arrested Scott Kenneth Aubrey on May 17 after that tip led them to believe he was in possession of a significant amount of counterfeit pressed pills.
“Detectives seized approximately 300 illicit pills. On May 18th, 2022 as a continuance of the investigation, several search warrants were served yielding 783 illicit pills, steroids and US currency,” a news release said.
In total, over 200 grams worth of pills were taken into evidence, all testing positive for fentanyl and/or heroin.
Scott Kenneth Aubrey has been charged with
- 6 Counts Trafficking Opiates
- Possession of Heroin
- Possession of Xanax
- Possession of Adderall
- Possession of Suboxone
- Possession of Dextroamphetamine
- Possession of drug paraphernalia
The sheriff’s office said numerous additional trafficking and other charges currently are pending in relation to the May 18 seizures. It’s the second arrest of its kind in a matter of a week. On May 12, the sheriff’s office arrested another alleged dealer tied to similar counterfeit pills.
With fentanyl overdoses being such a large problem in New Hanover County, more arrests are on the horizon with more serious charges.
“If you are dealing drugs, we are coming after you and we are doing everything we can to put you in jail,” said Sheriff McMahon. “We’ve got a lot more investigations going on right now. I anticipate more arrests. We are committed to going after drug dealers — and if someone dies, coming after them to charge them with the murder also.”
Pills similar to these have been tied to overdoses in the past. The sheriff’s office said Aubrey sold the drugs to people who believed they were pharmaceuticals.
“It’s bad enough that those that are addicted know they’re buying heroin,” said McMahon. “Now, we’ve got people that are trying to buy what they think are pharmaceutical pills when in fact, they are fentanyl pills and it’s killing people.”
That’s why Sheriff McMahon said he’s cracking down on dealers selling fentanyl-laced products that have led to so many overdoses. He wants people struggling with addiction to get help and to put their dealers behind bars.
“I’ve been saying throughout the past year, one of our big problems is the opioid addiction,” said McMahon. “So what can we do? So much of that is out of my control for the addicts and the help they need, and the mental health and addictions, and all that. What’s under my control is the enforcement piece.”
Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.