North Carolina

Undercover cops spend 6 months investigating a display of glass pipes, NC police say

The NC State Bureau of Investigations posted a photo of the glass pipe display at the convenience store.
The NC State Bureau of Investigations posted a photo of the glass pipe display at the convenience store. NC SBI

State and local investigators spent six months on an undercover operation into a convenience store’s display of glass pipes and bongs in Bryson City, North Carolina, according to a Facebook post from the State Bureau of Investigation.

The work led officers to seize more than 1,000 pipes from the store in western North Carolina mountain town, but they made no arrests and say the investigation is continuing.

The agencies are getting heat on the Facebook post, with users accusing the investigators of wasting taxpayer money and mocking them for the 6-month sting.

According to the SBI: “A 6-month undercover operation and joint effort by the Bryson City Police Department and North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement resulted in the raid of a local convenience store and the seizure of over 1,000 illegal methamphetamine and marijuana pipes.”

“How many rape kits were ignored so you could waste money doing this?” a Facebook user asked in one of more than 2,000 comments on the post.

“It took y’all 6 months to walk into a gas station?” another reader mocked.

The Bryson City Police Department asked the state’s Alcohol Law Enforcement for help on the investigation into BJ’s Quick Stop, the SBI said.

The post states, “Complaints from the community were fueled by the sale of drug paraphernalia and arrests made by the PD of patrons found with illegal drugs. Glass pipes specifically for ‘meth’ and marijuana use were displayed and sold openly, making it a prime location for users. Small plastic bags, marijuana grinders, scales, drug concealment containers, and fake urine used to evade drug screenings were also sold.”

“Over several months, the two agencies worked together to conduct multiple undercover purchases. On several occasions, the employees even gave recommendations and asked for customer feedback of the items sold,” the SBI wrote.

“Just think about the fact that these clowns are PROUD that they spent 6 months wasting tax payer money raiding a gas station most likely located in a low income area to get some bowls and bongs off the street. Great work guys! War on drugs officially won,” another user posted.

And yet another said, “We’re in the middle of an opioid and heroin epidemic and you guys spent 6 months going after a gas station that sells glass pipes legally? This is shameful and you should be embarrassed.”

Glass pipes and bongs similar to the ones seized in Bryson City are sold openly around North Carolina. State law says stores cannot sell these types of pipes if they are marketed for the use of illegal drugs and controlled substances.

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.