Wilmington man pleads to heroin trafficking

Joshua Gardner (Photo: DA Office)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man pleaded guilty Wednesday to tracking heroin.

According to a news release from the District Attorney’s office, Joshua Gardner, 29, was sentenced to at least five and a half years behind bars.

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On May 23, deputies from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible overdose case where two men were seen slumped over in a van that was parked in the Lowe’s Home Improvement parking lot on Carolina Beach Road.

When deputies arrived, they saw both Joshua Gardner and his friend passed out in the van. After they woke up, both were incoherent and confused as to what was happening.

Deputies also saw a needle cap consistent with heroin use in the van. Deputies then performed a probable cause search of the van and found approximately 19.9 grams of methamphetamine, 42.3 grams of heroin, as well as multiple alprazolam tablets, amphetamine pills, buprenorphine pills, and 0.11 grams of cocaine.

In a post-arrest interview, Gardner admitted that all the drugs were his and that he had been selling drugs to make some extra money.

He also has a lengthy criminal history including several theft offenses.

“I want to first commend the concerned citizen who initiated this investigation by calling law enforcement when he or she saw individuals that who passed out in a vehicle. The Sheriff’s Office then did a great job investigating this report,” DA Ben Davis said. “This case serves as an example of the good that can happen when concerned citizens report suspicious behavior,” remarked Assistant District Attorney Brad Matthews. “Our office will continue to prioritize the prosecution of career criminals and drug traffickers, and this defendant falls into both of those categories.”