Workers arrested in drug raid at Goodyear factory

(Left to right) 43-year-old Gloria Locklear, 42-year-old Joseph Brown, 24-year-old Marry Stone, 29-year-old Michael McKethan, 46-year-old Tony McKoy, 25-year-old Christopher Ward, Robert Thurman and 57-year-old Ronald Sulser.

March 31, 2010 4:33:21 PM PDT
Over a dozen Goodyear employees were arrested Tuesday evening during a drug raid by sheriff deputies for selling drugs while on the job.Deputies began their raid at the Ramsey Street plant just after 6 p.m. One by one, handcuffed employees were taken out of the plant. Drug sniffing dogs also searched cars in the parking lot and lockers inside the business.

Sheriff Earl Moose Butler said he has waited 16 years for this moment.

"Shortly after I came into office 16 years ago, we tried to do something out here," Butler said. "Course we knew at the time that there were drugs in the plant and we haven't been able to get anyone inside."

This time, the sheriff says Goodyear corporate officials in Akron, Ohio asked him to investigate drug activity at the plant.

"The health and safety of all associates is our top priority, and we will not tolerate any illegal activity in the workplace," said Plant Manager Tim Frosell in a press release. "We are grateful to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department for its professional and thorough investigation and we are fully cooperating with law enforcement in this matter."

The Fayetteville plant is the world's largest radial tire maker, with close to 3,000 people working there.

"Three thousand people employed here, it takes a lot of man hours to work a situation in an area this big," Sheriff Butler said.

Fourteen employees were arrested Tuesday and were charged with selling marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs to undercover narcotics agents working inside the plant. Authorities say undercover agents were able to purchase the drugs from employees since August, 2009.

A fifteenth suspect didn't work at the plant, but was charged with supplying drugs to employees. Some suspects were off Tuesday and were called to the plant. Deputies arrested the other suspects at their homes.

Those arrested face an array of charges.

  • Christopher Ward, 25, is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a vehicle for the sale and delivery of marijuana. A total of seven felony charges. He is in jail under a $500 unsecured bond.
  • Michael Fricks, 39, is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the sale and delivery of marijuana. A total of eight felony charges. He is in jail under a $8,000 unsecured bond.
  • Ronald Sulser, 57, is charged with three counts possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. A total of three felony counts. He is in jail under a $10,000 unsecured bond.
  • Robert Thurman is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and trafficking opium by sale and delivery. A total of nine felony charges.
  • Christopher Shirley, 26, is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, sale and delivery of marijuana. A total of three felony charges. He is in jail under a $5,000 unsecured bond.
  • Jeffrey Whitt, 39, is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine. A total of three felony charges. He is in jail under a $15,000 unsecured bond.
  • Marry Stone, 24, is charged with trafficking, delivering and selling opium and possession with intent to sell and deliver opiates. A total of six felony charges. She is in jail under a $14,000 unsecured bond.
  • Tony McKoy, 46, is charged with trafficking, selling and delivering opium. A total of three felony charges. He is in jail under a $5,000 secured bond.
  • Larry Abrams, 29, is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. A total of three felony charges. He is in jail under a $6,000 unsecured bond.
  • Gloria Locklear, 43, is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine. A total of three felony charges. She is in jail under a $5,000 secured bond.
  • Joseph Brown, 42, is charged with trafficking, possession, delivery and sell of opium and conspiracy. A total of four felony charges. He is in jail under a $13,000 secured bond.
  • Almadie Allison Whitt, 37, is charged with trafficking, possession, delivery and sale of opium and conspiracy. A total of four felony charges. She is in jail under a $6,000 unsecured bond.
  • William Beckham, III, 28, is charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver Ecstasy. A total of three felony counts. He is in jail under a $10,000 unsecured bond.
  • Dachonne Moorehead, 29, is charged with trafficking, possession, delivery and sale of cocaine and trafficking by transport of cocaine as well as conspiracy. A total of five felony charges. He is in jail under a $7,000 unsecured bond.
  • Michael McKethan is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana.
  • William Chad Devotie (not employed by Goodyear but was allegedly a source of supply for the above mentioned suspects) is charged with trafficking cocaine, possession, sell and delivery of cocaine, traffick by transport and conspiracy. A total of five felony charges.
All of the suspects were taken to the Cumberland County Detention Center.

Meanwhile, co-workers say they not surprised about the arrests.

"I've heard a lot of rumors, but I don't do them, so I don't get involved," employee Vicky Faircloth said.

Some workers said drugs at the plant are rampant.

"I've seen a lot of guys on drugs inside the plant," Leroy Morel said.

Jenifer Martin's husband works at the tire plant and says they needed to clean it up.

"I'm glad they are cleaning it up and co-operating trying to clean it up to make it a better place for everybody," Martin said.

The sheriff along with Goodyear officials hope Tuesday's raid sends a strong message.

"Seventy felony charges as a result of 15 people arrested, I don't know how big it will be, but it's still a big dent," Butler said.

Goodyear officials say they are now working on plans and procedures to better enforce a drug free workplace plan.

Send pictures | Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts
Most Popular  |  Follow abc11 on Twitter  |  abc11 on Facebook


Load Comments