03/10/2006

N.C. detectives' food order comes with an arrest

BRIANNE DOPART bdopart@heraldsun.com; 419-6684

Copyright 2006 The Durham Herald Co.
The Herald-Sun (Durham, NC)

When investigators from the Durham County Sheriff's Anti-Crime/Narcotic Unit got a tip that a fast-food delivery driver was moonlighting in the drug trade Tuesday, they developed an appetite.

"We had an investigator call and order up some food and almost on cue, they delivered the food and the drugs to us," said Sgt. Stan Harris with a laugh.

Earlier in the day, Harris said the unit received information that an employee of the Uptown Seafood Restaurant at 908 Fayetteville St. was using a company delivery vehicle to transport both cocaine and fish dinners.

Jashaun D. Huggens, 25, was allegedly working double-time, Harris said, making both food deliveries and routine drug stops during his shift. Huggens allegedly conspired with Jamar Moore, 21, who rode in the vehicle with Huggens and allegedly managed the drug transactions, Harris said.

Deputies set up surveillance on N.C. 55 near Interstate 40 where they used a confidential informant to call the suspects and buy a small amount of crack cocaine.

After the suspects made the delivery and deputies field-tested the drugs to make sure they were genuine cocaine, an investigator called the restaurant and ordered food, said Lt. Derek O'Mary, who heads the SAC/NARC Unit.

Mouthful of evidence

In less than 30 minutes, O'Mary said, Huggens and Moore pulled up with dinner. When deputies approached the vehicle, the suspects may have realized they'd bitten off more than they could chew -- literally.

"One of the guys actually tried to swallow evidence," O'Mary said. "One of my detectives actually saw him put it in his mouth."

O'Mary said one of the detectives held Moore's neck to prevent him from swallowing the drugs, while O'Mary fished three rocks of crack cocaine, marijuana and a golf-ball-sized bag of individually wrapped bags of powder cocaine out of the suspect's mouth.

"Whether we like it or not we're duty-bound to protect these people, and the fact is if he swallowed cocaine it would've killed him," O'Mary said.

Uptown Seafood Restaurant's manager refused to comment on the incident, but Harris said the business was completely "unaware" of the employee's other occupation.

"The manager was completely surprised," he said. "But he was in full cooperation with us, so we don't think they were involved."

Huggens was charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, conspiracy to sell cocaine, and maintaining a vehicle for the purpose of selling a controlled substance.

Moore was charged with possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine. The Durham County Jail did not have information on his bond amount Wednesday.

Huggens was released from the Durham County Jail on $7,500 unsecured bond. 

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