Tony Ray Reams of Scotland Neck and Herbert Lamont Cherry of Tarboro are both scheduled to appear at the federal courthouse at 10 a.m., according to court records in the case.
Reams was arrested Monday by the City County Drug Task Force and Tar River Regional Task Force. It was not immediately clear when Cherry was arrested but court records do show United States Magistrate Judge James E. Gates issued the warrants for their arrests.
A criminal complaint in the federal court record shows a federal task force officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration filed the document Monday.
The criminal complaint backs statements made in a search warrant filed by the City County Drug Task Force in the case and also expands on some of the details of the investigation.
The agent said he made the affidavit in support of a criminal complaint against Cherry and Reams for conspiracy to distribute 100 grams of heroin or more and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams of heroin or more.
The complaint begins when two targets met on March 6 of last year to accept 302 bricks of heroin.
A cell phone subpoenaed in the case contained Cherry’s cell phone number and showed Cherry contacted one of the target’s cell phone number 68 times from February 20 to March 8 of last year.
Further investigation showed Cherry frequented Nash County and information from a reliable source indicated the Tarboro man was reportedly “a significant heroin trafficker.”
Summer of 2016
In June of last year investigators received a new phone number for Cherry and the same source who provided the number also informed law enforcement Cherry recently returned to Scotland Neck from Patterson, New Jersey, with a large quantity of heroin. “The source told law enforcement that Cherry frequently travels to Patterson-Newark to purchase numerous bricks of heroin and … returns to North Carolina to distribute the heroin.”
In July of last year law enforcement established surveillance near the North Carolina-Virginia line after learning Cherry and Reams travelled to Patterson to reportedly acquire multiple bricks of heroin. “Law enforcement anticipated that Cherry and Reams would return to North Carolina via Interstate 95. Law enforcement attempted to follow their progress pursuant to a court order by monitoring real-time cell site location data associated with a cellular telephone.
“The cell site data, however, did not provide particularly specific information regarding the phone’s location and Cherry and Reams were able to elude agents that day.”
Again in July, with assistance of electronic surveillance, agents learned of another successful trip to Patterson for what was believed to be a trip to obtain heroin. “Because of technical difficulties,” the complaint says, “again law enforcement was unable to apprehend Cherry. (The affiant) has continued to investigate Cherry and Reams as well as other heroin traffickers, however, law enforcement has not been fortunate enough to have any confidential sources that have been able to infiltrate this trafficking organization.”
Fall of 2016, Winter of 2017
Around November 14 of last year, the agent received information from an anonymous source Cherry was reportedly involved in a transaction with two other reputed traffickers which involved the exchange of drugs for an Infiniti I-30, which Cherry registered.
Last month, the affiant was contacted by a source and informed Cherry and Reams, who also goes by the name POS, were in New Jersey.
The men departed on February 19. “This (source of information) knows that Cherry and Reams traffick in heroin and usually travel to New Jersey to acquire a significant amount of heroin … (the source of information) stated that Cherry would be driving his Infiniti … Law enforcement quickly reacted to this information but (the source of information) called again and said Cherry and Reams had already returned to North Carolina.”
Law enforcement, the complaint says, determined the men traveled to Patterson about every two weeks and were anticipating “another heroin trafficking venture in the beginning of March 2017.”
Events leading to stop
Around March 10, law enforcement learned Cherry had mechanical issues with the Infiniti and contacted a person to ask permission to use their Cadillac STS, which was picked up the following day around 10 p.m.
Law enforcement set up surveillance of the Cadillac’s owner and followed him to a residence in Nashville, where Cherry was picked up. Cherry took the Cadillac and went to Reams’s Scotland Neck residence but minutes later left for Tarboro.
On March 12 at approximately 10:45 a.m., Cherry and Reams departed from Halifax County and drove to Patterson in the Cadillac. Law enforcement, through use of an authorized GPS tracking device on the vehicle, monitored the men’s movements while in New Jersey and New York.
Around 4:30 on the morning of March 13, members of the Tar River task force located the Cadillac occupied by Cherry and Reams and described the vehicle to state Highway Patrol troopers assigned to the interstate as a criminal interdiction unit.
One of the troopers spotted the vehicle traveling approximately 60 miles per hour, the vehicle weaving in its lane.
The trooper stopped the vehicle at the 173 mile marker in Roanoke Rapids.
“Before (the trooper) could introduce himself, Cherry started telling (the trooper) he was weaving because he was getting change from the center console.”
During the encounter with the trooper “Cherry was very talkative” and reportedly stated they were coming back from visiting Cherry’s sick aunt in Baltimore.
Cherry, however, could not tell the trooper his friend’s name and began mumbling and stuttering and did the same when asked whether he was arrested before.
In the trooper’s conversation with Reams, the Scotland Neck man told the trooper he and Cherry had been to, “‘Baltimore, I think,’” but did say they were visiting Cherry’s sick aunt.
Cherry denied there were drugs or large amounts of currency in the vehicle and did not give a clear answer when the trooper asked for consent to search the vehicle.
The trooper used his dog for an exterior sniff of the vehicle and eventually made a positive indication for the presence of narcotics.
In the trunk of the car was a mesh laundry bag with something hard under the dirty clothes.
The trooper found a large object wrapped in aluminum foil, which contained suspected heroin.
The large item, a suitcase, was field-tested with positive results by the City County Drug Task Force.
There was a total of 694 bricks of heroin located which contained 50 baggies in each brick. The 50 bricks equaled 34,700 baggies and a weight of 694 grams.
A recording of the men in the back of a state Highway Patrol car captured their conversation during the search of the vehicle they were riding in.
“This video was reviewed the following day,” the complaint says.
The men can be heard talking about where they were coming from.
Cherry is heard to say, “‘Baltimore, right?’”
When the trooper got his dog out, Cherry can be heard saying, “‘Oh, sh#$.”
Reams asked a few minutes later, “‘They find it?’”
Cherry replies: “‘They going to ... You think they going in the trunk?’”
Cherry then says, “‘Here they go, yo, oh, sh#$.”
Reams later replied, “‘They were waiting on us. Somebody told.’”