Drug suspects out on bailPublished 12:04pm Saturday, July 20, 2013
COURTLAND—Two Newsoms men are out of Southampton County Jail after an unknown person or persons posted a $25,000 surety bond on each suspect Thursday.
Joel Hedgepeth, 28, and Kyle Thorpe, 27, had been arrested Wednesday at Thorpe’s home in the 34000 block of Monroe Street, Newsoms. Hedgepeth is from the 22000 block of Linden Street, Courtland.
Search warrants had been made in connection with a seizure of 99 marijuana plants found May 28 in Newsoms. An illegal liquor still was also taken during the search on Wednesday.
Originally held without bond, the suspects were scheduled for an arraignment Thursday. That date has been moved to Thursday, Aug. 22, in Southampton County Circuit Court.
Hedgepeth has been charged with four counts of selling and distributing marijuana, conspiring to sell and distribute marijuana, selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school and possessing a distilling apparatus without a license.
Thorpe is charged with two counts of selling and distributing marijuana, conspiring to sell and distribute marijuana, selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, possessing a gun with over one pound of marijuana and possessing a distilling apparatus without a license.
On May 28, a warrant was served at a Newsoms residence in the 25000 block of Greenbriar Drive, which Thorpe’s father owns, for marijuana paraphernalia including potted plants. The estimated street value of the items was $297,000.
The investigation got started back in May, when the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office was tipped off and used that information to make some buys with a confidential source, said Maj. Gene Drewery, department spokesman.
Rick Francis, clerk of court, said that normally there are several things to help a judge decide whether or not to allow bail. These include, but are not limited to, the presence or use of firearms and their potential consequence, having a past record, flight risk, the severity of the charges, and if someone had been hurt.
Having a surety bond, said a member of Francis’s office, means the suspects needed a professional bondsmen.
Managing editor Cain Madden contributed to this story.