Crime notebook: Gang member, habitual felons plead guilty to drug charges

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New Hanover County

A gang member was sentenced to more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to drug charges in New Hanover County Superior Court.

Alphonso McClendon, 22, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty Sept. 10 to possession with intent to sell heroin within 1,000 feet of a park, possession with intent to sell heroin within 1,000 feet of a child care center, conspiracy to sell heroin and selling heroin, according to a news release from District Attorney Ben David.

The Wilmington Police Department conducted an investigation into McClendon due to his connection to local gangs, David said. It was alleged that the defendant sold narcotics between January 2013 and November 2014.

“Despite McClendon not having much of a prior record, he is a validated gang member who has repeatedly sold heroin in our community, often times near our public schools and parks,” Assistant District Attorney Alex Nicely said. “Our office will continue to prosecute individuals and request active sentences for those who deal drugs in furtherance of gang activity.”

Man pleads guilty to selling drugs near elementrary school

Christopher Debose, 41, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and heroin, according to David. He was sentenced as a habitual felon to more than four years in prison.

The Wilmington Police Department, with assistance from the FBI Safe Street Task Force, served a search warrant for narcotics at Debose’s residence on Bonham Avenue in Wilmington on June 8.

Law enforcement knocked on the door and when no one answered they made forced entry, David said. Debose went into the bathroom and attempted to flush cocaine and heroin down the toilet.

When police encountered Debose in the bedroom, he refused to surrender and was ultimately tasered and arrested, David said. Detectives searched the running toilet and found heroin and cocaine.

Debose had reportedly sold heroin and cocaine from the residence for seven to eight months. The residence is within 1,000 feet of Amy Bradley Elementary School, 3801 Wilshire Blvd., in Wilmington.

“Our office will continue to seek lengthy prison sentences for people who peddle this poison near schools and playgrounds. Children have a right to be free from this blight and the dangerous activities associated with it,” David said.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Timothy Severo. Thomas (Bud) Woodrum represented Debose in the case.

Brunswick County

Derrick Shepard, 31, of Supply, pleaded guilty Sept. 9 to possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver heroin in connection with an undercover drug operation in July 2013, Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David announced this week.

Agents with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement Unit conducted an undercover operation, which led to Shepard’s arrest on July 24, 2013.

Shepard admitted in court to selling 10 bindles of heroin to an individual who was working under the direction of law enforcement. Shepard has 21 prior felony convictions, David said.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge James Ammons sentenced Shepard as a habitual felon. He was sentenced to serve 89-119 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections.