NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A former employee with TRU Colors Brewing Company facing heroin and other drug charges says he is innocent and plans to fight the case in court.
Veshon Shaw discussed his arrest, family, and job in an interview with WECT at the New Hanover County Jail on Thursday.
"I'm innocent," Shaw said repeatedly throughout the interview. "From the moment I took the oath to join TRU Colors, that was what I did. I went to work and I went home. I played the game, and I get my son every night. That's what makes me happy."
According to jail records, Shaw was arrested on Tuesday and faces four counts of sell/deliver a schedule I controlled substance and four counts of conspiracy to sell heroin.
A spokesperson with the WPD declined to answer any questions or provide any additional information about the arrests charges, or ongoing investigation.
Shaw said he was blindsided by the arrest, which happened as he was leaving a clothing store buying a birthday gift for his young son, who will turn two years old in August.
"When I came out, they just bum rushed me," said Shaw. "This was very surprising to me. When I was arrested, I didn't know for what. They wouldn't tell me right away."
When asked why he would be arrested for the current charges if he is innocent, Shaw said he doesn't know.
"It's nothing new to me to be charged with something and then found not guilty of it," said Shaw, who said he was found not guilty of previous drug-related charges.
Two other former TRU Colors employees were also arrested and charged with drug-related crimes this week but did not accept invitations for an interview with WECT.
Shaw said he could not comment on their charges.
"I can't speak on anybody else but myself," said Shaw. "It was said that they're my co-defendants which is not true. But I can't speak on the next person. I don't know anybody else's situation. I can only speak on Veshon Shaw."
Shaw said he started working at TRU Colors in November 2017. The company, started by entrepreneur George Taylor, hires active gang members in an effort to reduce gun violence in Wilmington.
"Instead of selling drugs, I was selling hope," said Shaw about joining TRU Colors. "Truthfully, it's the best thing that ever happened to me. For this to happen, it hurts me not to be able to go back to work. Because that's what actually kept me away from this. And that's what changed my life and helped me in a way that I can't even explain."
Shaw said he recruited other gang members to join TRU Colors and tried to set an example for other people.
"It has helped me change my life tremendously," said Shaw. "There is nothing bad that I can say about TRU Colors. It's something positive. It's something that keeps your time occupied. And I mean, it's something that really helps you bring the best side out of yourself."
Shaw said he has not spoken with George Taylor since his arrest.
"Whenever I get out, I plan on going to talk with [Geroge Taylor]," said Show. "We're sitting down and him hearing my side, so he can understand that...he already knows that this isn't the first time I've been accused, and he knows that I am a full-time worker. I do come to work every day. And I'm there."
Taylor called the arrests "embarrassing, upsetting, irritating." Shaw said he understands how the arrest appears to the public but feels it's not fair to pre-judge the outcome of the case.
"To hear him say that - I mean, I can understand it. But I don't like that fact that there was an interview before we were convicted. I feel like that's something that should have been said or transpired after we were convicted of some charges," said Shaw. "I feel like that's kind of a slap in the face because he knows that I just went through this same process and I was found not guilty of those charges."
Shaw denies committing any illegal activity besides the current charges since working for Tru Colors. He said it was not difficult to avoid crime.
"It wasn't hard because of the opportunity that George gave me," said Shaw. "He gave me the perfect opportunity to change my life and prove to people that I am a changed man. And to help my image. So it wasn't hard for me to leave the streets alone because, technically, I was in the streets looking for stability and money, and then it was like, joining TRU colors, everything was there for me."
Shaw praises Taylor for giving him the chance to work for TRU Colors Brewing Company.
"[George is] a generous guy. He's kind-hearted, and he actually is a genuine person who cares about what you have going on outside of work. He actually cares about you as a person. So that made me not want to embarrass him, as he would say, that was never my intention," said Shaw.
Shaw said he plans to hire an attorney and prove his innocence.
"All I can do is hire a lawyer and fight this case. But I'm innocent," said Shaw.