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Five charged in Raleigh heroin-trafficking investigation

Barshiri Ahmad Sandy
Barshiri Ahmad Sandy CCBI

A drug investigation by Raleigh police resulted in heroin-trafficking and conspiracy charges Wednesday against a local man along with one from Charlotte, two from Delaware and one from Virginia.

According to the charges, the investigation reaches back to at least Dec. 1, when police said an informant bought heroin from the local man, Barshiri Ahmad Sandy, 38, who lives on Garner Road in Raleigh.

The other men charged were James Donald Woods, 31, of Charlotte; Robert Chambers, 40, of Hampton, Va.; Elijah Barnett, 41, of Wilmington, Del., and Kenyon Lamar Oneal, 43, of Wilmington, Del.

Bails for the men ranged from $500,000 for Oneal to $5 million for Sandy.

All except Oneal face multiple felony charges. Oneal was charged with conspiring with Barnett to traffic in heroin in late March. Sandy and Barnett are accused of conspiring with each other to traffic heroin.

Police took four of the five men to detective offices before formally arresting them, according to records. Chambers, the suspect from Virginia, was arrested at a Sheetz gas station and convenience store on New Bern Avenue, the City County Bureau of Investigation showed.

An arrest warrant accused Chambers of maintaining an apartment on East Cameo Lane in Knightdale for drug business as well as a Chevrolet Avalanche truck with Virginia license plates.

Few of the charges gave specific quantities of heroin that police said were involved. One, however, listed 39 grams, which is about 1.4 ounces.

The allegations about sales to informants cited smaller quantities.

Sandy was convicted in 2014 along with a man named Henry Surpris of robbing a man the previous year.

Their convictions were overturned, however, when the state Court of Appeals ruled in 2016 that Wake County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen had engaged in misconduct while prosecuting them.

The court said Janssen had urged a Raleigh police detective to hold off on bringing drug charges against her key witness, the man Sandy and Surpris were accused of robbing.

Sandy and Surpris claimed the victim, Marcus Shu-Aib Smith, was a marijuana dealer and had not delivered on a purchase they made. Janssen argued that there was no evidence that Smith was dealing drugs at the time.

The appeals court overturned the convictions after an email between Janssen and the detective about Smith turned up during a federal drug prosecution of Smith.

The federal court later convicted Smith in a case that involved more than 150 pounds of marijuana.

Ron Gallagher 919-829-4572 @RPGKT
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