ROCKINGHAM — An Ellerbe man wanted in Georgia on charges related to transporting methamphetamine between the Peach State and North Carolina is being held at the Richmond County Jail waiting to be extradited.
The Morgan County (Georgia) Superior Court issued a bench warrant this past week for Gerald Allen Smith, 56, after he failed to appear in court on April 16, and his $20,000 surety bond was forfeited on April 18, according to court documents.
Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons said late in the afternoon on April 20 that his office had not been contacted about the case. But Smith was arrested at 11:05 p.m. on April 20, according to warrants for his arrest.
Clemmons could not be reached for comment Friday.
Smith was indicted in September 2017 on one count each of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of Oxycodone, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark, receiving stolen property, and driving while license suspended. He also was indicted on two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Smith and Patrick Carlton Harrington, 38, of Jackson Springs, were arrested by the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office in June 2017, according to court documents.
Harrington was indicted on one count each of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession of Oxycodone, criminal use of an article with an altered identification mark, theft by receiving stolen property and obstruction of an officer. He also was indicted on two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and three counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The Morgan County Citizen reported that the two men were arrested in June 2017 after a single-vehicle wreck on Interstate 20. Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley told the Citizen that he saw two men matching Smith’s and Harrington’s descriptions speaking to a woman in her driveway and confronted them.
After Markley sensed nervousness on their part he ordered the men to the ground, prompting Harrington to run. Harrington was later caught. Deputies said they found a backpack with more than 75 grams of suspected meth in clear plastic baggies, two guns, a bottle of suspected Oxycodone and two cellphones.
After questioning, the two had different stories. Smith claimed Harrington picked him up as a hitchhiker. Harrington said he and Smith were friends and that he had been asked to drive from Jackson Springs to Douglasville, Georgia, in exchange for meth.
Smith is being held at the Richmond County Jail under a $25,000 bond.
Neither man has any pending charges in North Carolina.
Smith was convicted in Union County of misdemeanor counts possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance, carrying a concealed weapon and driving with a revoked license in March, for which he was given probation. He was convicted in 1992 of a misdemeanor count driving while impaired in Brunswick County, according to records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction.
Harrington has no previous convictions in the state.
It is not clear in what state, or states, they were convicted for felony crimes, thus prompting the possession of a firearm by a felon charges.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]