Richmond County sheriff’s deputies charge Hamlet man with trafficking opiates

By: By Gavin Stone - Staff Writer

ROCKINGHAM — A Hamlet man is facing 28 felony charges relating to trafficking prescription medication.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office’s Narcotics Unit conducted an investigation into Thomas Lee Tunstall Sr., 67, using a confidential informant who purchased oxycodone and hydrocodone from Tunstall throughout the month of December, resulting in an arrest on Dec. 22.

The informant bought the drugs, which are Schedule II controlled substances, from Tunstall on seven occasions from Dec. 1 to Dec. 20, according to court records. Tunstall allegedly used a building on East Hamlet Avenue, two storage units at the Byrds Nest Mini Storage facility on East Hamlet Avenue in Hamlet, as well as a burgundy minivan to conduct the transactions.

On Dec. 18, the informant met Tunstall at the Byrds Nest Mini Storage facility — equipped with a hidden camera and marked bills — and purchased 30 hydrocodone pills which were immediately turned over to a detective for evidence, according to court records.

Documents also indicate that after completing the transaction, “(Tunstall) stood and talked to the (confidential informant) for a moment about the DEA trying to put a stop to the doctors supplying such medication.”

Tunstall is charged with: 12 counts of selling or delivering a Schedule II controlled substance; six counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver a Schedule II controlled substance; six counts of maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance; and four counts of trafficking opium or heroin.

His bail was set at $500,000, which he posted on Dec. 22. His court date is Jan. 11.

Tunstall has no prior convictions.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]


By Gavin Stone

Staff Writer