Saturday, June 10, 2023

Man charged with trafficking heroin on Kerr Avenue

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A Clarkton man pled guilty in New Hanover County Superior Court on Monday for trafficking heroin by transportation and one count of possession with intent to deliver a schedule I controlled substance.

Justin Steele, 41, was sentenced to the mandatory term of 70 to 93 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction and also imposed a $50,000 fine, another mandate under statute.

On April 5, 2022, a confidential informant working on behalf of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office arranged to buy 400 bindles of heroin from Steele, whom he had purchased large quantities of heroin from before according to the NHCSO. The defendant stated over the phone that he was going to bring the heroin to the confidential informant’s residence on Kerr Avenue in Wilmington. Once
Steele arrived, Vice and Narcotics Detectives from NHCSO detained
him and searched his car.

Inside the vehicle, detectives found 400 bindles of heroin and $1,730 of U.S. currency on the defendant’s person. Later testing conducted by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Crime Lab confirmed the substance in the seized bindles contained a mixture
of heroin and fentanyl. Steele also has a lengthy criminal history including prior narcotics and firearms offenses.

“Heroin and fentanyl continue to wreak havoc in our community through addiction and overdose, and individuals who bring this poison into New Hanover County will be brought to justice,” said Assistant District Attorney Brad Matthews. “Our office will always prioritize the prosecution of career offenders and drug traffickers, and this defendant falls into both of these categories,” District Attorney Ben David said in a press release.

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