Five Arrested Following Multi-Agency Narcotics Investigation


Case Leads to Arizona; Heroin, Cocaine Seized

WILLIAMSTON – The State Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and the Williamston Police Department recently concluded a six-month narcotics investigation leading to the arrest of five drug traffickers in North Carolina and Arizona. 

During the investigation multiple search warrants and traffic stops were conducted which resulted in the arrest of the suspects listed below. In addition to the arrest, authorities seized two kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of heroin, 5.5 pounds of marijuana, two vehicles, and $268,136 in U.S. currency.  The heroin and cocaine seized during this investigation has an estimated street value of $300,000.     
“This is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when local, state, and federal agencies work together in an effort to target major drug trafficking organizations,” said Anthony Jernigan, special agent in charge of the SBI’s Northeastern District Office. “The operation was very successful and has ultimately made the community a safer place for its residents.”  

The agencies involved in the operation were: N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Martin County Sheriff’s Office, Williamston Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Perquimans County Sheriff’s Office, Raleigh Police Department, Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville Police Department and the National Guard Counter Drug Task Force. 

Martin County Sheriff Tim Manning said, “The results of this investigation are a direct reflection of the dedication exhibited by all of the agencies involved. This case has shown the sheriff’s office commitment to working with other agencies to suppress cocaine and opioid distributions in Martin County and eastern North Carolina.” 

Sheriff Manning said he plans to continue to working with local and state agencies to further reduce and rid Martin County of narcotics trafficking.      

Williamston Chief of Police Travis Cowan said, “The collaborative effort displayed in this case is a prime example of how far law enforcement’s reach extends when they work collectively and in conjunction with one another.” 

Chief Cowan expresses his gratitude to all of the agencies that participated in the investigation and aided in bringing the case to a close with successful outcomes. 
The following people were charged and more arrest are anticipated:

Maria Ruiz-Ochoa, 38, 1325 N 374th Ave., Tonopah, Arizona
Level III Trafficking (cocaine) by Transportation
Level III Trafficking (cocaine) by Possession
Level III Trafficking (cocaine) by Manufacturing
PWISD Marijuana October 27, 2017
Conspiracy to Traffic 400 grams or more of cocaine

John Bailey, 35, 2715 Uniontown Road, Jamesville
5 counts of Conspiracy to Traffic 400 or more grams of cocaine
Level III Trafficking (cocaine) by Possession

Gregory Whidbee, 41, 811 Ocean Hwy., Hertford
Conspiracy to Traffick 400 grams or more of Cocaine (with Maria Ruiz and John Bailey) October 27, 2017

Akio Hunter, 35, 118 Dogwood Dr., Hertford
Conspiracy to Traffick 200-400 grams of cocaine

Arthur Spruill, 49, 916 W Waddell St., Selma
Conspiracy to Traffick Cocaine
Photos are in order of the charges listed above.

Contact:   Patty McQuillan
Phone: 919-582-8511