When a K-9 Deputy and his dog made a traffic stop near Tabor City Sept. 25, he had no idea he would find a vehicle full of fake identification, personal information and other contraband.
Jose Salazar, Bruno Ferriera and Cristine Somerville were arrested after a deputy stopped their van for a traffic violation, according to the sheriff’s office. Salazar and Ferriera are from New Jersey, and Somerville is from New York, according to arrest reports. The stop occurred in the 10000 block of Joe Brown Highway south.
The deputy saw Ferriera on the floor in the back of the van, the sheriff’s office reported. Salazar initially provided a false identification to the deputy.
After the deputy observed “concerning behavior,” the report said, the sheriff’s office K-9, Cooper, was deployed. The dog alerted twice on the van, and the trio were removed and detained while a search was conducted.
Methamphetamine and heroin were found in Somerville’s purse, the report said, and a glass pipe was in the glove box. Elsewhere in the vehicle, a bag of cocaine was located. In a side panel, deputies found a pipe and more meth. A number of bags in the rear of the van were locked, the report said, but in the unlocked bags deputies found another bag of meth, multiple small bags, and three sets of scales with drug residue.
Deputies also located multiple forms of identification, social security cars, cellular phones, laptop computers, and a “large quantity” of USB storage devices. Tools using for breaking and entering were also discovered, the report said.
The three were arrested, and the van taken to the sheriff’s office for further processing. Inside the locked bags, the report said, deputies found hundreds of personal documents that did not belong to anyone in the vehicle. They also located a notebook that was alleged to detail the trio’s drug activities.
The three advised that they were traveling between New Jersey and Myrtle Beach as part of a drug business.
Somerville, 34, was charged with two counts of felony possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $50,000.
Ferreira, 33, was charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver narcotics, drug paraphernalia, and possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver cocaine. He was held under $60,000 bond.
Salazar, 49, was held under $60,000 secured bond on charges of maintaining a vehicle for drug activities, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver heroin, paraphernalia, providing fictitious information and no operator’s license.
“ The evidence collected during this incident will be examined further and additional charges are likely,” Sheriff Jody Greene said. “The deputy that initiated this traffic stop did a fantastic job. He deployed K-9 Cooper after observing suspicious behavior from the individuals. K-9 Cooper alerted to the locations where the narcotics were located. This deputy’s vigilance and K-9 Cooper’s keen senses resulted in the discovery of narcotics and a possible criminal enterprise.”
The investigation is continuing.