Deputy checking on stranded drivers leads to drug, gun bust

Broken down car leads to big break for Sheriff's Department

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A Bladen County deputy checking on a disabled vehicle led to the arrest of a Wilmington-area couple following the discovery of various drugs and an AK-47 inside their vehicle.

A patrol deputy spotted the stranded car on N.C. 87 East near Elizabethtown Monday around 4:30 a.m. and decided to check on the occupants to make sure they were okay.

Stephen James Linderman, left, and Carrie Ann Simmons (Source: Bladen Co. Sheriff's Office)
Stephen James Linderman, left, and Carrie Ann Simmons (Source: Bladen Co. Sheriff's Office) (Bladen County Sheriff's Office)

The deputy noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle while talking to the people inside the vehicle, Stephen James Linderman, 28, of Wilmington, and Carrie Ann Simmons, 34, of Leland.

During a search, deputies found 63.3 grams of meth, 5.8 grams of cocaine, 462.2 grams of marijuana, an AK-47 rifle with two fully loaded 30-round magazines, $610 in cash, and several pieces of drug paraphernalia.

Both Linderman and Simmons were charged with numerous drug-related offenses including trafficking meth, felony possession of cocaine, felony possession of marijuana, and possession with intent to manufacture/sell/deliver meth, cocaine, and marijuana.

Linderman was additionally served outstanding traffic- and drug-related warrants from New Hanover and Cumberland counties. Simmons was also served outstanding drug-related warrants from Brunswick County.

Linderman’s bond was set a $730,000 while Simmons was given a $1 million bond.

"[Deputies] never know who or what they will end up dealing with. This is just another example that there is no such thing as a ‘routine’ stop,” explained Sheriff James A. McVicker.

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