Chapel Hill News

Orange County’s chief probation officer charged in pot-growing operation

Carlisha Davis, chief probation officer for Carrboro and southern Orange County
Carlisha Davis, chief probation officer for Carrboro and southern Orange County

A top Orange County probation officer has been charged with operating a marijuana-growing operation in her Efland home.

Carlisha Lakwan Davis, 38, of 3306 Loganberry Court, Efland, was charged Dec. 9 with felony maintaining a dwelling for the sale, manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, felony marijuana manufacturing and misdemeanor possession of marijuana, according to court records.

The charges stem from a June break-in, Orange County sheriff’s investigator Randy Hawkins said. Davis’ arrest was delayed because investigators “were making sure we had what we needed” to file the charges, he said.

Davis was released from the Orange County Jail after posting a $10,000 unsecured bond. She returns to court Jan. 24. Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall said the N.C. Department of Justice is handling the case.

Davis is southern Orange County’s chief probation and parole officer, earning $45,914 a year. N.C. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pamela Walker said Davis has been on administrative reassignment since June with a Guilford County probation office.

According to a search warrant, deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office responded to a break-in call around 9 p.m. June 18 at the home. Deputies reported finding “an obvious break-in” and checked inside for any potential suspects, the warrant states.

In the master bedroom closet, they found what appeared to be the remains of a marijuana-growing operation, Hawkins said in the warrant. Among the items seized were plant-growing lights, fertilizers, marijuana, marijuana seeds and growing media, the warrant states.

Deputies told him the break-in suspect or suspects may have stolen marijuana plants growing in the house, but it was hard to tell because of the condition in which they found the closet, Hawkins said.

“It appeared that the suspects got all that they could carry and had to leave some items behind,” he said.

Deputies found more lights and equipment in the garage, the warrant states. Court records show Davis was charged with having between 0.5 and 1.5 oz. of marijuana in the home.

Hawkins said deputies did not know at the time of the break-in that the home belonged to Jones and her husband, Feltus Juan Jones, 40, who also could face charges.

Orange County’s 12 probation and parole officers supervise the daily activities of 667 offenders – roughly 56 per officer – and ensure they comply with court orders.

Davis joined the Department of Public Safety in 1998. She worked in the Carrboro office on Laurel Avenue for many years, including as an educational officer and the unit’s domestic violence officer, and was promoted to chief probation and parole officer in 2008. Davis supervised six probation officers and one office assistant, Walker said.

State budget cuts forced the county to close the Carrboro office in recent years, consolidating the officers in Hillsborough.

If Davis is found guilty, Walker said the Public Safety agency “will take whatever action is appropriate at that time.”