MCSO teams up with Probation for ‘Operation Zero Tolerance’

MCSO teams up with Probation for ‘Operation Zero Tolerance’

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photo by Vickie Carpenter

Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer

After individuals have their day in court, they are often placed on probation and a portion of their judgement stipulates they must complete an array of various directives such as drug treatment, community service, not associating with other known criminals or meet certain other conditions. North Carolina Probation and Parole officers are tasked with monitoring these individuals and ensuring they comply with the judge’s orders following their court appearance. In a county-wide operation, North Carolina DPS Probation, the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations and Homeland Security teamed up for “Operation Zero Tolerance” which targeted many who have been involved in the sales and/or distribution of narcotics and were fugitives.

The agencies involved conducted searches of residences, made traffic stops, and executed both search and arrest warrants which resulted in capturing 19 suspects for crimes ranging from drug manufacturing to possession of a firearm by a felon. 

“I appreciate the efforts of all the organizations involved,” said Sheriff Robert Holland. “This operation took several weeks to plan and went off perfectly. With an escape that occurred the previous day, we took the opportunity to include the additional resources.  Several suspects arrested provided important information that turned out to be credible and ultimately led to the successful apprehension of escapee Kaitlyn Fitzgibbons.”

Individuals arrested during the Nov. 20 operation include: 

1. James Homer Taylor – possession of firearm by felon (2), possess stolen firearm, sell/deliver heroin, maintaining a dwelling/place controlled substances. $27,000 secured bond.

2. Megan Thomas –  sell/deliver heroin, maintaining a dwelling/place controlled substances. $12,000 secured bond.

3. Rita Lynn Webb –  sell/deliver heroin. $10,000 secured bond.

4. Crystal Ledbetter – possess methamphetamine, possess heroin, possess Schedule I controlled substance, possess drug paraphernalia. $7,000 secured bond.

5. lan Thomas Spies – possess methamphetamine, possess heroin, possess Schedule I controlled substance, possess drug paraphernalia. $7,000 secured bond.

6. Ryan Finn – maintaining a dwelling/place for controlled substances. $3,000 secured bond.

7. Rita Morgan – possess methamphetamine, possess drug paraphernalia. $3,500 secured bond.

8. Byron Blue – possess methamphetamine, possess drug paraphernalia. $3,500 secured bond.

9. Travis Zepeda – possess marijuana, possess drug paraphernalia. $1,500 secured bond.

10. Dustin Hathcock – order for arrest contempt order. No bond.

11. Ashley Vasallo – Order for arrest, three counts of failure to appear. $5,000 secured bond.

12. Sheldon Bateman  – order for arrest, four counts of felony probation violation. $10,000 secured bond

13. Cameron Lee Holland – possess methamphetamine, simple possession Schedule IV controlled substance, possess drug paraphernalia, possess marijuana. $4,000 secured bond.

14. Melissa Sue Heard – possess methamphetamine, posșeșs drug paraphernalia, order for arrest, failure to appear. $3,500 secured bond.

15. Donald Justus – order for arrest, two counts of failure to appear. $1,000 secured bond.

16. George Bell – possess heroin, simple possession Schedule II controlled substance, possess drug paraphernalia. $4,000 secured bond.

17. Kaz Heaton – possession of firearm by a felon, possess methamphetamine, possess drug paraphernalia. $13,000 secured bond.

18. Kelly Walker – order for arrest, two counts of failure to appear. $1,000 secured bond

19. Melissa Barnes – possess methamphetamine, possess drug paraphernalia. $3,500 Secured Bond

While Operation Zero Tolerance saw 19 arrested, three individuals were not captured and are now considered Wanted Fugitives: 

– Reyna Garcilita – trafficking heroin, felony parole violations

– Jeremy Sanders – two counts trafficking heroin, sell/deliver heroin, two counts maintaining a dwelling/place for controlled substances.

– Shawn Casey – sell/deliver heroin, maintaining a dwelling/place for controlled substances.

– Anyone having information about the whereabouts of these individuals should contact the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

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