Grand jury indicts man accused of assaulting law enforcement with fentanyl

Grand jury indicts man accused of throwing fentanyl at law enforcement
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 11:35 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A grand jury has indicted a man who is accused of assaulting law enforcement with fentanyl, according to the District Attorney.

Four assault charges against Lewis Rudolph Drayton were dropped by prosecutors on April 18 in connection with the investigation in January, but then on June 26, a grand jury indicted him for assault with a deadly weapon on a government official along with some drug charges.

The drug investigation closed down a part of I-40 for several hours on the night of Jan. 6.

Prosecutors said during Drayton’s first appearance that he intentionally opened a bag of drugs and threw fentanyl at two detectives and a deputy on Jan. 6. When prosecutors dropped the assault charges in April, court records indicated that the officer told investigators that Drayton didn’t appear to be aiming the drugs at them.

The grand jury indictment claims that Drayton’s “assault” consisted of him pouring approximately 250 grams of fentanyl out of his vehicle and then throwing out the zip lock bag containing the fentanyl while a detective approached his vehicle.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said that one detective fell unconscious and was administered Narcan.

Per the NHCSO, all three were taken to the hospital and later released less than 24 hours after the incident. At the time, a sheriff’s office release said that it was “shocked and appalled” after Drayton “exposed a Detective and two Deputies to a dangerous opioid drug.”

Scientists and other experts have told WECT that law enforcement narratives are questionable regarding fentanyl being delivered through the air. One anesthesiologist noted that the substance doesn’t hang in the air, saying that it was “not plausible” for fentanyl to be breathed in from nearby air and absorbed within seconds and cause someone to feel woozy or fall over.

Court records from April when the charges were dropped said that “the reaction that sent him to the emergency room could have as easily been a reaction to the circumstance of his being administered naloxone.”

The NHCSO website indicates that Drayton is being held under a $500,000 secured bond at the county jail as of Sept. 18. Besides the assault charge, he was also indicted on two counts of trafficking heroin, possession of 1/2 oz. of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The District Attorney’s office says that his trial is set for Feb. 24, 2024.