NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A $1 million bond.
That’s what district attorneys Jon and Ben David want for those arrested for trafficking heroin and fentanyl.
“If you are pedaling poison for profit in the five county region, you need to know that the cost of business just went up dramatically,” Ben said.
They held a news conference Tuesday morning on the Battleship North Carolina to discuss their approach to crackdown on the opioid epidemic.
“We are going to continue to serve and protect those struggling in the grips of addiction,” Ben said.
The two brothers are unapologetic to criminals, who they say are the reason one person dies every week in the five counties they cover.
“For every dealer of heroin and/or carfentanil, we are going to be requesting a one million dollar bond as a new policy in the fifth and thirteenth districts. That’s the five county area,” Ben said.
Jon David says this battle is multi-faceted.
“The opioid crisis is nothing short of a public health emergency in the Cape Fear,” Jon David said. “We’re trying to save lives today.”
The men will request a $1 million bond when they arrest, who they call “poison pushers.”
They want officers to target that drug specifically.
“The cost of business is going up today.”
The Davids say they have spoken with the sheriffs of Brunswick, Bladen, Columbus, Pender and New Hanover counties, as well as police chiefs and the head of the FBI Task Force to help with this initiative.
“It’s very frustrating to see them get out of jail quickly after we’ve spent days, weeks, months investigating crimes that they’re associated with or involved in,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said.
“These dealers are very dangerous individuals so on our end, hey if we can ask for a higher bond then great. As far as all the technical areas, the judges, the magistrates, they can decide that but we just wanted the community to know this is a problem,” New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said.
There are 40 people of current pending cases in New Hanover County who are out on bond. The district attorneys say it will cause a short term population increase at the jails but it’s maximizing a resource. They want to focus on career criminals.
“We don’t know always the lives we save by these initiatives,” Ben said.
They are looking at how to keep them in custody before trial and will look at the jail numbers a year from now.
Jon David says right now dealers are getting bonds they can easily handle. The goal is to keep them in custody. He said he met with every magistrate in Bladen and Columbus counties, and they are on notice.
Judges will have to determine the motivation after the initial $1 million secured bond.
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina released a statement, saying it is unconstitutional to keep people locked in jail before they have been found guilty.