Workers arrested in drug raid at Goodyear factory

29-year-old Larry Abrams; 28-year old William Beckham, III ; 39-year-old Michael Fricks; 29-year old Dachonne Moorehead; 26-year old Christopher Shirley; 37-year old Almadie Allison Whitt; 39-year old Jeffrey Whitt (Cumberland County Sheriff's Office/WTVD)

March 31, 2010 8:21:43 AM 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.

  • Kristopher Ward 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.
  • Michael Fricks 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.
  • Ronald Sulser is charged with three counts possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. A total of three felony counts.
  • 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 is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, sale and delivery of marijuana. A total of three felony charges.
  • Jeffrey Whitt is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine. A total of three felony charges.
  • Mary Stone is charged with trafficking, delivering and selling opium and possession with intent to sell and deliver opiates. A total of six felony charges.
  • Tony McKoy is charged with trafficking, selling and delivering opium. A total of three felony charges.
  • Larry Abrams is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. A total of three felony charges.
  • Gloria Locklear is charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine. A total of three felony charges.
  • Joseph Brown is charged with trafficking, possession, delivery and sell of opium and conspiracy. A total of four felony charges.
  • Almadie Allison Whitt is charged with trafficking, possession, delivery and sale of opium and conspiracy. A total of four felony charges.
  • William Beckham, III is charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver Ecstasy. A total of three felony counts.
  • Dachonne Moorehead 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.
  • 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.

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