North Carolina News: GREENSBORO, Middle District of North Carolina Recognizes Outstanding Law Enforcement Officers, Agency

GREENSBORO, N.C.Matthew G.T. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, presented awards to representatives from three local law enforcement agencies for their outstanding accomplishments during the year. Individual awards were presented to Detective Chrystal Overcash of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and Detective David Walker of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. An award for outstanding law enforcement agency was presented to the Burlington Police Department Gang and Violent Crimes Unit.

Award recipient: Detective Chrystal Overcash, Guilford County Sheriff’s Office

While assigned as a Task Force Officer to the Treasury Office of Inspector General, Detective Chrystal Overcash was instrumental in the prosecution of Kimberly Hobson. Hobson defrauded High Point Regional Hospital, using her position in the hospital’s financial department, embezzling almost 4 million dollars from the hospital, to the detriment of the hospital and the community it serves.

Thanks in large part to Detective Overcash’s efforts, the federal prosecution of Hobson was successful. Hobson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 102 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $3.8M in restitution. In addition, we were able to seize and forfeit the cash in Hobson’s bank accounts, 12 vehicles (including 2 in Romania), numerous items of personal property, and Hobson’s residence.

Award recipient: Detective David Walker, Orange County Sheriff’s Office

During 2018, while assigned as a Task Force Officer to the Drug Enforcement Administration/Raleigh Office, Detective Walker served as the primary agent on the Roderick Lamar Sanford investigation. Sanford and four coconspirators were engaged in the distribution of heroin (often, laced with Fentanyl) in and around Durham, NC from 2014 until their arrests last year.

The investigation was complicated by the fact that the main cooperating witness (CW) in the case was a recovering heroin addict who experienced relapses in sobriety on at least two occasions during the investigation (and was arrested at least once by Alamance Co. LEOs). The CW’s continued drug use and arrest impacted the CW’s credibility as a witness. Det. Walker expended dozens of hours gathering evidence which corroborated information provided by the CW (as well as other cooperating codefendants), as well as evidence of Sanford’s attempts to intimidate the CW into recanting statements against him.

For purposes of sentencing in his case, Sanford is being held accountable for conspiring to distribute over 20 kilograms of heroin between 2014 and 2018.

Award recipient: City of Burlington Police Department Gang and Violent Crimes Unit

This award recognizes a law enforcement agency for outstanding unit accomplishments during the award period. The criteria included:

• Evidence of the unit’s ability to successfully combat gang activity

• The creation or development of innovative gang enforcement strategies

• Mission accomplishments and successes at the unit level resulting in a decrease in gang activity

The Burlington Police Department Gang & Violent Crimes Unit (GVCU) was formed during the summer of 2016 in response to multiple gang-related violent crimes that created an unprecedented wave of violence within the Burlington jurisdiction. GVCU has been extremely successful in addressing and minimizing gang activity in Burlington by solving cases of gang violence, witness intimidation, and organized crime related to gang activity.

Officers involved in the GVCU activities and investigations detailed below include Adam Snow, JT Theriault, Al Smith, Sergeant J. Light, Lt. Alan Balog, and Capt. Bret Currie.

During the month of October 2017, GVCU investigators solved a series of four Blood gang-related shootings into occupied dwellings where two gang members were shot during separate shootings in Burlington. These crimes led to the seizure of four firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition from a convicted felon.

During the month of November 2017, GVCU investigators solved a gang/drug-related homicide that occurred in Burlington, which occurred due to a Blood gang member owing a drug debt to a Folk Nation gang member.

During the month of December 2017, GVCU investigators solved a gang/drug-related home invasion from Burlington that resulted in the seizure of a bulletproof vest, 700+ rounds of ammunition, and 4 firearms from Blood gang members, who are also convicted felons. GVCU investigators solved a gang/drug-related murder from Burlington, which occurred during a drug deal between Crip gang members and Blood gang members. Ultimately, three convicted felons were arrested and charged with murder, including the shooter.

During the month of April 2018, GVCU investigators solved a gang-related shooting in the parking lot of a sweepstakes business in Burlington. GVCU investigators also solved a Blood gang-related murder and robbery at a sweepstakes business where the security guard was shot to death inside the business during the robbery. Additionally, all persons inside the business besides a female employee were viciously and ruthlessly beat with a firearm during the robbery by the shooter. Intelligence learned during this investigation showed that this crime was for the benefit of the Blood gang, and for newly drafted gang members to earn rank in the Blood gang.

Between October 2017 and April 2018, the City of Burlington experienced an approximate 80% reduction in reports of firearms being discharged in the city, an approximate 80% reduction in reports of firearms being discharged into occupied dwellings, and a total reduction of gun-related crime by approximately 83% in the City of Burlington. These crimes are all common indicators of underlying gang problems, which often physically appear as gun- related crimes. Additionally, the City of Burlington experienced approximately three months in early 2018 without a single homicide occurring, which has not happened in Burlington for at least the last decade.

SOURCE: news provided by JUSTICE.GOV on Friday, February 1, 2019.