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Thirty-Second Year, Number 3
C1993 TH? MUNSWICK BfACON
.fe, North Carolina, Thursday, November 18, 1993
50<t Per Copy
44 Pages, 3 Sections, Plus Inserts
MM Got No Breaks On Septic Permit Health Officials Say
BY ERIC CARLSON
Brunswick County Health Department
officials on Friday denied charges that
Martin Marietta Aggregates was given
preferential treatment in processing a septic
tank permit for its proposed limestone mine
Calling the approved septic system plan
"conservative" and "slightly overbuilt."
Environmental Health Specialist Bruce
Withrow said he had discussed its design
with company representatives for "more
than a month" and found them "cooperative
and willing" to make recommended
"They asked for no special favors and
they received none." Withrow said.
Opponents of the proposed mine las!
week asked the stale to revoke any building
permits on the site until the company's sep
tic tank plans are reviewed to assure com
pliance with environmental regulations. A
group calling itself the Brunswick Mining
Awareness Committee claims the system as
proposed would violate wetlands regula
tions and could easily he damaged by
In its letter to the N.C. Division of
Environmental Management, the commit
tee also accused local health officials of
acting "erroneously, unlawfully and with
out proper procedure" when they issued a
permit for the system "almost immediately
upon receipt of the engineering plans" and
"They asked for no
special favors and
they received none. "
? Environmental Health
Specialist Bruce Withrow
without proper site inspection and specifi
"I don't know where they got their infor
mation from." Brunswick Environmental
Health Supervisor Andrew Robinson said
l-'riday. "There have been a lot of phone
conversations ? maybe a year old ? pertain
ing to this site. Nothing out of the ordinary
has been done. They did not get any prefer
"In fact, their permit took a bit longer
than most," he said.
Robinson said he was unable to docu
ment all the health department's contacts
with Martin Marietta because field notes
from a site inspection were found to be
missing from department records after for
mal requests were made to review the sep
tic system file. He did not indicate who had
inspected the file.
Because the company's plans called for a
mechanical septic system. Robinson said he
referred the permit request to Withrow, who
specializes in such designs.
Withrow said he was first contacted hy
Martin Marietta around Oct. 1 and had sev
eral discussions with company representa
tives before they requested a permit appli
cation. Withrow advised them that the plan
would have to he certified hy a licensed en
gineer. He scheduled an on-site meeting for
After walking the site and inspecting pre
liminary plans. Withrow said he told the
company that more information was needed
before the county could review its applica
tion. A second site evaluation was done on
(See SEPTIC PERMIT, Page 2-A)
STAFF PHOTO BY ERJC CAKUON
LIEUTENANT Carl Pearson (in photo above) leads William Anthony Daniels of Ash toward a sher
iff's department van for transport from "the shed" in Long wood to Brunswick County Jail on cocaine
possession charges. Below, sheriff's department officers prepare for a series of raids on alleged drug
dealing areas. Narcotics officers raided " the shed" and several other alleged drug-trafficking areas last
week in a county-wide crackdown dubbed "Operation War Paint. "
' OPERATION WAR PAINT'
Officers Arrest 1 4
In Drug Crackdown
BY ERIC CARLSON
"Bad boys. Bad boys,
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do
when they come for you ? "
The throbbing reggae theme from the TV program
"Cops" pulses through the police radios of five un
marked vehicles converging on one of Brunswick
County's most notorious open-air drug markets.
It's a place called "the shed." an abandoned one-story
building on N.C. W4 in Longwood that once housed a
tractor dealership. Years of neglect and abuse have re
duced it to a windowless metal shell emblazoned with
graffiti and strewn with trash and liquor bottles.
Out front is an overhang that was originally designed
to keep customers dry. It still performs that function. But
now the products for sale are marijuana, crack cocaine
and other controlled substances.
Any time of the day or night, you are likely to find a
crowd of people, mostly unemployed young men. hang
ing around the shed, sitting in one of several stuffed
chairs or milling around a makeshift table.
Cars pull up to the awning. Cars stop. Cars drive off.
Sometimes they leave with illegal drugs.
Last summer, the sheriff's department narcotics squad
sent a visitor to the shed and to other known drug mar
kets around Brunswick County. They watched him make
a number of purchases. They captured the action on
videotape, gathering evidence in what came to be known
as "Operation War Paint."
At sunset on Friday, it was "pay-back time." Armed
with a stack of sealed felony indictments, ten sheriff's
officers in bullet-proof vests and black tactical uniforms
paid a visit to the shed with "Colonel." the unit's new
Approaching 'ram three directions, four cars and a
van slid to a halt at several pre-arranged locations
around the building. With blue lights flashing and guns
drawn, the officers jumped out and swarmed toward the
crowd of about 20 men milling around out front.
"Sheriff's department! Everybody up against the
wall!" the officers shouted.
In the momentary chaos that followed, most of the
men complied and moved quickly toward the side of the
building. But at least three took off running through the
darkness to a far corner of the shed, where the corrugat
ed steel skin had been peeled back to provide an easy es
As expected, several of the detainees were among
those accused in the indictments of selling crack co
caine. Another was found to be holding a small quantity
of marijuana. They were handcuffed, advised of their
rights and herded into the van.
Next to the shed, on the roadway beside a parked car.
one of the detectives picked up a plastic container.
Removing the green cap, he looked inside and found (S3
rocks of crack cocaine worth nearly $2,000
"Bad boy s. Bad boys.
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do
When they come for you?"
The convoy moves to its next destination, a stretch of
Turkey Trap Road in the Cedar Grove community where
a number of drug offenses and shooting incidents have
Again there is a crowd of young men standing around
cars parked in front of a mobile home. Like before,
some of them run into the woods as the officers swarm
from their vehicles. Others quickly toss small items into
a nearby drainage ditch.
Another indicted felon is found among the group. He
is ushered to the hood of a car, handcuffed, frisked and
helped into the van with the others.
"Check this out," Detective Billy Hughes says, point
ing his flashlight into the back seat of a silver Toyota.
There, protruding from beneath a portable cassette play
er, is the foot-long banana clip in SKS assault rifle.
They locate the owner of the rifle and radio for a
check of its serial number. Meanwhile one of the
deputies ejects the 50-round clip, which slips to the
ground, spewing copper-jacketed bullets across the
Colonel immediately tugs at his leash and begins
(See COUNTYWIDE DRUG, Page 3-A)
COUNTY SAID RESPONSIBLE FOR MESS
Manager Ordered Clean-Up On Former Commissioner's Land
BY ERIC CARLSON
In what he acknowledged to he "an exception to the
normal rules," County Manager Wyman Yelton recently
ordered his landfill supervisor to use county personnel
and equipment to haul trash, old tires and other debris
from a former county commissioner's property.
In a Nov. 5 memorandum to Operation Services
Director Darry Somersett, Yelton said he felt "com
pelled to take the huii by the horns and clean up this
mess rather than let it continue to exist" along a strip of
undeveloped subdivision lots owned by former commis
sioner Benny Ludlum.
Somersett said he complied with Yelton's order by au
thorizing a backhoe operator to spend an eight-hour day
removing items from Ludlum 's lots on lakeside Avenue
off Oxpen Road last Tuesday. He estimated the cost to
the county at around S4(M).
"The boss told me to do it. I've never been asked to
do it before," Somersett said.
In an interview Tuesday, Yelton said he authorized the
clean-up because he felt the county was somewhat re
sponsible for causing the mess.
"He had some trash dumped on his property that he
hadn't been able to get cleaned up by the party who
dumped it there," Yelton said. "It was three months
since it was reported. I felt we had an obligation to cor
rect the problem."
The clearing was done on a strip of wooded lots along
the edge of a marsh about a half mile from the Oxpen
solid waste convenience site. People who arrive at the
dump station during off-hours frequently leave piles of
trash outside the gate. Yelton said he felt the proximity
of Ludlum's property to the convenience site contributed
to the illegal dumping.
But the debris cleared from Ludlum's property was
not the bagged household trash commonly found around
the waste site, according to the person who supervises
the county's solid waste enforcement officers Recycling
Coordinator Mary McCarley, who inspected the Ludlum
property, said much of what she found there looked as if
it had been there for a long time.
McCarley said she found numerous piles of tires and
large rusted auto parts that were overgrown with vegeta
tion. She said she also found an old burnt building, a
television set, wooden crates, a cable spool, some old
Business News ............ 14C
Church News .......... 5B
Crime Report 9A
Court Docket 9- IOC
Fishing 1 4B
People In The News 8B
Plant Doctor JB
Television ............... 12- 13C
ZONING TO RETURN JAN. 1
Board Hears Rosy Forecast Of Mining Benefits
BY ERIC CARLSON
The Brunswick County Commissioners
were told Monday that Martin Marietta's
proposed limestone quarry will pump $6.9
million into the county's economy for
every 3.6 billion gallons it draws from the
local ground water.
Commissioners took no action on a re
quest from opponents of the project who
want them to ask state regulators to hold
back a mining permit until questions about
the currently suspended zoning ordinance
Instead, the l>oard voted unanimously to
reinstate the land use law on Jan. 1.
The economic impact report prepared by
Economic Development Commission Dir
ector Tom Monks estimates that Martin
Marietta will add 103 positions to the coun
ty job market and increase annual tax rev
enues by $1 13,710 while costing the county
nothing in return.
But opponents of the mining project say
Monks paints too rosy a picture of Martin
Marietta's economic impact. They say the
study "completely ignored" the mine's po
tential effects on tourism or the possibility
that property values might decline due to a
deterioration of the environment.
They are concerned about blasting at the
quarry site and increased truck traffic on
N.C. 21 1 and fear that the company's plan
to use 10 million gallons of ground water
per day will dry up local wells and ponds
and cause dangerous sinkholes to form.
Martin Marietta says the opponents'
claims are exaggerated and the concerns
Monks' report says the county can ex
pect a $280,000 increase in retail sales dur
ing the first year of construction and opera
tion of the mine. Once the company reach
es full production, the county can expect
$6.9 million in additional sales attributed to
the Martin Marietta operation every year.
The company will directly employ about
50 truck drivers and 28 service workers,
(See MINE WILL BRING, Page 2-A)
carpeting, "common litter" and cut pieces of wood and
yard debris "that may have come from on-site."
"It was not all in one location. It did not give the ap
pearance of coming from one person. Judging from the
rust and the weeds grown up over it, it appeared to have
been there for some time," McCarley said.
One thing she did not find on Ludlum's property were
"no trespassing" or "no dumping" signs Nor have there
been any complaints from other property owners in the
area about overflow dumping from the convenience site.
McCarley said she has never heard of the county clean
ing up trash on private property and admitted she "was
shocked" to see Yelton's memo.
Both state and county laws say it is the responsibility
(Sec LAND CLEAN-UP, Page 2-A)
Beacon Publishes Early
During Holiday Week
Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, The
Brunswick Beacon will publish a day earlier next
week and all advertising and news deadlines will be
a day earlier.
All real estate advertising must be placed by 5
p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, and classified advertising
must be ordered by noon on Monday, Nov. 22.
The newspaper will be available in racks and at
dealer locations Tuesday. Mail subscribers in Bruns
wick County should receive their paper on Wed
nesday. Other subscribers should get their papers
about the same time as usual since post offices will
be closed for the holiday on Thursday, Nov. 26.
The Beacon office will be closed Thursday,