An effort involving Surry County and Mount Airy authorities has resulted in a felony heroin charge against a local woman they believe was transporting the drug into the county to distribute.
The arrest of Morgan Elaine Manley, 32, of 174 New St. in the Bannertown area, resulted from a surveillance effort Tuesday on U.S. 52, according to information released by Sheriff Graham Atkinson.
Surry County narcotics detectives were working criminal interdiction on a section of the highway near Pilot Mountain. While in that area, the officers’ attention was drawn to a pair of vehicles traveling north on U.S. 52.
The detectives surveilled the vehicles, eventually trailing one to an undisclosed business on South Main Street in Mount Airy.
Surry County officers subsequently contacted the Mount Airy Police Department Narcotics Division for assistance.
Once sufficient resources were on the scene, officers approached the occupants of the 2016 Ford Fusion that they had followed to the business.
After speaking to its operator, officers used “Erica” of the Surry County K9 unit to conduct a sniff search of the vehicle. After the dog gave a positive indication, the car was searched and a pocketbook belonging to Manley was located inside.
Officers found about 1.7 grams of heroin inside the pocketbook, which was contained in two separate plastic bags.
Manley was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a drug vehicle.
She was confined in the Surry County Jail after a magistrate set a $10,000 secured bond in the case, and Manley was released the same day of her arrest, according to a jail spokesman. She is scheduled to appear in Surry District Court on April 26.
Heroin rare locally
Although heroin has been causing major problems in other parts of the nation, the drug is not encountered that much here, Sheriff Atkinson said Thursday.
“It’s unusual — we’re just not seeing a lot of it,” the sheriff said of a problem that tends to surface on a short-term basis locally and then fades away.
“We’ll have a spike as far as heroin goes,” he said, which might be accompanied by several instances of local residents being found in possession of that drug or winding up in a hospital emergency room after overdosing.
“And it just goes away,” Atkinson said of the heroin presence that will resurface at some point in the future. “Sometimes we’ll go for several years.”
He acknowledged the felony heroin bust this week, “but right now that is not our big drug problem,” Atkinson said, explaining that abuse and misuse of prescription medication still occupies that spot.
“Most of our heroin traditionally has come out of Charlotte,” the sheriff continued.
“The appearance of this (the quantity found with Manley) is a little bit different from the heroin we have seen in the past.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.