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SPRINGPORT MI 4-32:54
Twenty-fifth Year, Number 32
Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, June 18, 1987
25c Per Copy
32 Pages Plus Insert
DEFENDANTS INCLUDE PUBLIC FIGURES
Brooks'Arrest Was First In Cocaine Investigation
BY SUSAN USHER
An Inquiry that ultimately led to
300 Indictments asshut 32 defen
dants by a special investigative
Brunswick County Grand Jury last
Thursday actually began In 1985,
though ^e jury’s special role only
spanned four months.
Though the investigative grand
jury was dissolved Thijsday, the in
quiry into cocaine dealing in
Brunswick County isn't over.
However, it will take a different form
in the hands of law enforcement
agencies. The jury was Umited to in
vestigating cocaine trafficking.
Possession and related charges must
still be handled, according to District
Attorney Michael Easley.
He said additional indictments
could be expected in July.
Special Agent Mike Grimes of the
federal Drug Enforcement Ad
ministration said Thursday’s indict
ments stem from the July 25,1985, ar
rest of Alan Dale Brooks of Shallotte
following an undercover investiga
tion of several months’ duration. Of
ficers arrested him in the act of sell
ing and delivering 400 grams of co
caine (slightly less than a pound) to
an undercover officer in the parking
lot of a Seaside convenience store.
At that time it was the largest co
caine deal ever transacted with an
undercover agent in the county’s
history. It was a joint effort of the
Brunswick County Sheriffs Depart
ment, Sunset Beach Police, the SBI,
the Drug Enforcement Agency,
Durham City Police and Cumberland
County Sheriffs Department nar
Since that arrest Brooks has
pleaded guilty to charges with a com
bined mininoum mandatory sentence
■ of 91 years. As gf.tgte ^spday.be
mained a fugi&ve from justice.
He was indicted on one count
Thursday, the least of any defendant.
Aiong with members of the locai
business community, those indicted
include two public figures; James D.
Griffin Jr., a developer and a former
Holden Beach commissioner, and
Virgil Roberts, a current member of
the Holden Beach Board of Ad
Also indicted was Tami Miller of
Lilllngton, the fonner director of the
Brunswick Buddies program, which
matches troubled youths with adult
Each held his or her position at the
time of one or more alleged offenses.
Other than Brooks, they are all
charged with varying counts of both
trafficking by possession of cocaine
and conspiracy to traffic. They face
minimum sentences of from seven to
40 years, and possible fines. These
can be reduced through substantial
‘'JTWOODEN STbettADE' lo'pp^ with tnrbdl wlie fence is one of the
distinguishing features of Ft Apache, the Stone Chimney Road residence of
J,». - HAff f HOtOS m lUlAH umu
l)ale V^inhuif,'wro~ was indicted lakt w^kSsff^^ bf'tlrdtncldng
and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.
cooperation with tlie investigators.
As of Tuesday, all but three defen
dants were either in custwiy or other
wise accounted for.
Brooks is a fugitive, a warrant is
outstanding for Ronald Lee of Dunn,
and the warrant for another suspect,
Francisco Navarro of Ft. Myers,
Fla., has been returned as “not to be
Four were being held in the
Brunswick County Jail. Uoyd Neil
Strickland of Route 1, Winnabow, is
being held on $900,000 bond. Ronald
Strickland of Tabor City and Ronald
Dale Ward of Nakina are being held
on $600,000 bond each.
A fourth man not among the 32 in
dicted is also in jail, on $150,000 bond.
According to Sheriff John Carr
Davis, 19-year-old Johnny Dale Wood
of Route 1, Winnabow, was arrested
June 11. Agents were positioned
around the Neil Strickland residence
about three hours in advance, Davis
said, because he was “known to be
dangerous.” Then Strickland was
called, told he was surrounded and
asked to surrender. He did. Wood,
however, fled through the nearby
woods with more than a half-pound of
cocaine in his possession, running
directly into the path of a S.W.A.T.
team of SBI agents.
A couple. Jack and Donna
Truesdale, were to brought to
Brunswick County Wednesday. He is
charged with 21 counts of trafficking
and 12 of conspiracy, while she is
charged with six counts of trafficking
and three of conspiracy.
Except for the Truesdales and
Brooks, the remaining defendants
are charged with equal counts of traf
ficking and conspiracy.
Said ‘Good Tool’
_;_^The exercise pales in comparison
(See GRAND JURY, Page ^A)
Politics Divdes Commissioners In Debate Over BTC Appointment
BY SUSAN USHER
Political differences—both partisan and per
sonal—apparently split Brunswick County Commis
sioners Monday night as they rehashed an earlier ap
pointment to the Brunswick Technical College Board of
The commissioners jousted, delving up old hurts with
pointed references to past slights in appointments to
And while they didn’t take back the June 4 appoint
ment of Charles I^er of Mill Creek community to the
BTC boanl, they agreed to hold off further appointments
until they reach agreement on their own policy.
At their June 4 meeting, commissioners reaffirmed
their commitment to their policy of rotating appointr
ments to boards to assure geographic representation
from each district
Afterward, Frankie Rabon of District 4, the only
Republican commissioners, “called in’’ his appointment
of Charles ’’Chuck’’ Lanier to the BTC board.
Lanier, also a Republican, will replace W.A. “BiU’’
Stanley Jr., chairman of the Brunswick County
Monday, a motion to rescind Rabon’s appointment
failed 3-2, with Chairman Grace Beasley, Benny Ludlum
and Rabon lined up against Chris Chappell and Jim
That vote, by a board with four Democrats and one
Republican, has prompted Stanley to threaten resigna
tion from his party post.
Stanley played a prominent role in the establishment
of the college and has served on its board continuously,
including a long stint as chairman. Recently, he had been
defeated in a bid for the chairmanship, now held by
At the board’s April meeting, Stanley publicly
challenged BTC President Joseph Carter’s salary level;
a vote on his motion to have it reduced failed.
Lanier's appointment not only removes the
Democratic Paiity chairman from the Brunswick Tech
board, it also swings the political alignment of the board
aiong new party lines. His appointment brings the
number of Republicans on the board to five. Also this
month. Gov. Jim Martin will appoint someone to fill Rep.
David Redwine’s seat on the board. That appointee is ex
pected to be a Republican.
Since the chairman, a Democrat, can only vote in a
tie, with their six votes the Republican members could
control the board if they were to vote together.
However, politica! alignments wore not what com
missioners argued over Monday. Instead, they argued
over interpretations of the board’s policy on rotating ap
pointments—whether Lanier’s appointment ran counter
to the policy and how that policy is applied to boards with
members appointed by other agents.
Commi^oners appoint only four trustees to the col
lege board, typically naming one of their own number
(currently Benny Ludlum) and then three citizens.
As seats become available, the appointments are
supposed to rotate from commissioner to commissioner,
district to district, in an effort to strike a geographic
Monday night, commissioners divided over whether
the board’s policy was intended to help balance only its
own appointments or that of the entire BTC board.
A resolution adopted by the board in December 1984
indicated the next two appointments were to go to
Districts 1 and 3. Instead, the first county appointment
since then, in June 1985, went to Clarkie Munn of District
5. It had only one other representative, governor's ap
pointee Durward Clark.
Monday, District 3 Contunissioner Jim Poole sup
ported Chappell’s contention this appointment should
have gone to District 1. “Unless District No. 1 gets one.
I’ll never get one,” he quipped.
Chappell questioned why the appointment, not due
until June 30, was settled during his absence on June 4.
“I really see doubletalk in it,” he continued. “With
this motion you took the appointment and moved it where
you wanted it.”
He also acknowledged, however, that there had been
other times when the rotation policy had not been applied
to everyone’s satisfactory interpretation.
Charged Ludlum, “If I left it up to you, you would
have all the appointments staked out.”
The policy states the board’s Intent to reapportion
boards to five members with equal district township ex
cept where the law provides otherwise, and to rotate ap
pointments in numerical sequence.
SIA»f rxOTO »Y SUJAH UtHU
OAK ISLAND RESIDENT Lee Presnell, left, shares his theories oo the comi
ty budget with Commissioner Chris Chappell, right, while Conunlsstoner
Jim Poole, foreground, chats with another person. Tum-ont at the hearing
Commissioners Begin Final Budget Work
BY SUSAN USHER 4
Saying they wished more people
had participated in a hearing last
Thursday, Brunswick County Com
missioners Tuesday night began
their “page by page, line by line”
review of the proposed 1987-88
It must be adopted by July 1.
Additional sessions will be held at
6:30 p.m. today (Tliursday) and Fri
day in the Administration Building,
continuations of Monday’s regular
meeting. They are open to the public.
Commissioners are looking at a
budget with a recommended three-
cents tax increase.
At last Thursday’s hearing.
speakers fell generally into the same
two categories as a year ago, talking
for 20 minutes on behalf of either the
schools or senior citizens programs.
Commissioners said they were
disappointed at the low turnout
“We’ll hear about it (the budget)
later," said Chairman Grace
Beasley, noting, however, “This was
Commissioner Frankie Rabon said
he was surprised tliere was no discus
sion this year, as there was last year,
of the parks and recreation budget.
And Commissioner Benny I.udlum
said of the proposed budget, "I tried
to cut down on it”
(See COMMISSIONERS, Page^A)
New County Manager Starts Work In July
A new manager for Brunswick
County is expected to start work on
llK Brunswick County Board of
Commissioners unanimously voted
Monday night to hire M. Thomas
Barnes, 45, at a salary of $42,500. He
will also have use of a county car.
The vote was a formality, since the
board had earlier authorized Acting
County Manager/County Attorney to
offer Barnes the post and he had ac
Barnes fills the position vacated
April 1 by William Carter after eight
years in office. A diabetic, he retired
on medical disability.
A Wilson native, Barnes served as
county manager for Halifax County
for 81^ years, from May 198 until
December 1986, when he left to open
his own business.
In Halifax County, Barnes was in
volved with a water extension project
and a new Halifax County jail and
courthouse construction project, in
dicated Peggy Hudson, county ad
ministrative assistant. According to
a Brunswick County news release, he
concentrated in the areas of person
nel, finance, county water and in
dustrial development, managing a
budget of more than $23 million and a
work force of 300.
Barnes graduated from East
Carolina University with a major in
history and sociology. He is a U.S.
Air Force veteran and a graduate of
the Municipal Management Program
of the Institute of Government,
Prior to his work with Halifax
County, Barnes was affiliated with
the Central Region Planning Com
mission of the Region L Council of
He is married to an educator and
they have a seven-year-old daughter.
They are now relocating to
Commissioners received more
than 70 applications for the post and
interviewed four candidates, in
cluding one from Brunswick Coimty.
Before his retirement. Carter
underwent sugery from which he suf
fered complications. He is now serv
ing as a consultant to tlie board on the
1987-88 budget, which must be
adopted before July 1.