DOBSON — A Mount Airy man is being held without bond in federal custody following his arrest on several drug-related warrants.
Edward McKinley France Jr., 38, of Cathedral Lane, was indicted Aug. 31 on charges of maintaining a drug-involved premises, distribution of cocaine base and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.
Deputies with the Surry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division arrested France on Sept. 8 and turned the suspect over to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The federal indictments were a result of an ongoing investigation by county law enforcement.
According to court documents, the defendant’s “significant criminal record” raised concern about his release before trial.
That record includes numerous felony convictions, including felony second-degree rape, felony drug offenses and additional convictions following his release from incarceration, the court document states.
Other concerns with pre-trial release included multiple convictions for resisting public officers and felony flee to elude arrest, according to court documents.
During the Sept. 15 detention hearing, France waived further detention proceedings and consented to be held without bond.
Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson said certain cases are presented to the U.S. Attorney General.
“The feds may pick up all of it or some of it,” said Atkinson, surmising that France’s criminal history may have prompted the federal agency to pursue the case.
“He’s been around a long time.”
Atkinson did not definitively confirm the local agency’s motivation for presenting the case to the U.S. Attorney.
“Very likely he’ll be exposed to a lot more time in the federal system if he meets the criteria for a career criminal.”
Two chase arrests
A pair of local residents were cited with felony violations after allegedly fleeing a traffic stop on a motorcycle, according to a statement released by the sheriff’s office.
Driven by Charles Lee Tate, 46, of Old Lowgap Road, Lowgap, the motorcycle failed to pull over at the intersection of Zephyr Road and Crossroads Church Road, Dobson.
The passenger was identified as Cassie Dawn Leftwich, 35, of Haystack Road, Mount Airy.
The vehicle led detectives on a chase for several miles reaching speeds of up to 70 mph, according to the statement.
The vehicle lost control while turning onto Sid Hodges Road, a gravel road.
Both suspects were subsequently detained and searched.
Tate was charged with felony eluding arrest with a motor vehicle, failing to heed lights or sirens, reckless driving to endanger and no operator’s license.
He was released from the Surry County Detention Center under a $5,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 26.
Leftwich was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and served with outstanding warrants.
She is held under a $4,000 secured bond with a court appearances scheduled for Oct. 28 and Nov. 1.
Justin Ronald Joyce, 28, of Gilmer Miller Road, Lowgap, was arrested Sept. 6 and served with outstanding warrants and a new charge.
“The arrest was the result of detectives from the Surry County Sheriff’s Office conducting surveillance in that area due to complaints of drug activity,” according to a statement released by the county agency.
Joyce was served with warrants for possession with the intent to sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia that was located during the traffic stop, according to information provided by the sheriff’s office.
He was booked into the Surry County Detention Center under an $11,000 secured bond and scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 28.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.