An early-February traffic stop has led to the arrests of five people, including a 73-year-old man, in connection with an alleged drug ring, Rowan County authorities say.
The five were arrested by deputies Wednesday at three different residences, according to the sheriffs office.
Charged in the case were Ricky Ray Shackleford, 51; Nicole Doris Clark, 32; Steven Daniel Kenneway, 26; Paul Sylvester Burgess, 73; and Samuel Lee Knotts, 37. All are from Salisbury except Burgess, who lives in Rockwell.
It started with a Feb. 7 traffic stop, in which deputies say they seized about 1,000 opiate-based pills and more than $17,000 in cash from a vehicle and Shacklefords home. Investigators say they found ledgers in the home that described the sale of large amounts of opiates that were being obtained through legal prescriptions.
Deputies say they also found unfilled prescriptions in Shacklefords possession that belonged to Burgess and Clark.
On Wednesday, deputies went to Shacklefords home on Fox Run Road and arrested Shackleford, Clark and Kenneway. They also went to a home on Percy Lane in Rockwell and arrested Burgess. Knotts was arrested later, deputies say.
The investigation is continuing, authorities say.
Shackleford was charged with conspiracy to traffic opium; maintaining a dwelling to traffic opium; and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed under $75,000 bond, deputies say.
Clark, who was jailed under $50,000 bond, was charged with conspiracy to traffic opium; and trafficking opium by possession. Kenneway, jailed under $20,000 bond, faces the same charges.
Burgess, jailed under $20,000 bond, was charged with conspiracy to traffic opium.
Knotts, jailed under $75,000 bond, was charged with conspiracy to traffic opium; and trafficking opium by possession and transportation.
All five made their first court appearances Thursday morning in Salisbury.