Three TRU Colors Brewing Company employees arrested on heroin charges

Three TRU Colors Brewing Company employees arrested on heroin charges

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Three TRU Colors Brewing Company employees are in trouble with the law and out of a job.

We've been following the story of the company, which hired active gang members in an effort to reduce gun violence in Wilmington. TRU Colors plans to open a brewery in Wilmington later this year.

Two of the men, Veshon Shaw and Marquice Graham, were in court Wednesday afternoon on heroin charges.

Malik Simpson was also arrested on similar charges Wednesday.

All three are members of Gangster Disciples.

George Taylor, the entrepreneur who started the business, said the arrests are disappointing and surprising.

"Something like what happened today, it's embarrassing, upsetting, irritating," he said.

Taylor said the men are no longer with the company because this kind of activity violates company policy. He brought the TRU Colors employees together Wednesday for a meeting to talk about the arrests.

"It is impossible to say everyone in our organization is doing everything right any more than it is any other organization that has size in Wilmington," he said. "But because of who we are and because of what we are doing, people are paying a lot more attention to it so we have to be very careful. We have to police ourselves. We have to watch and hold each other accountable."

Shaw faces four counts of sell/deliver a schedule I controlled substance and four counts of conspiracy to sell heroin.

Graham is charged with possession, trafficking heroin, possession with intent to sell and conspiracy to sell. He's also charged with resisting officers.

Simpson is charged with trafficking heroin and conspiracy to sell drugs.

In court, the assistant district attorney said Shaw was the ringleader of the operation. The assistant DA told the judge there have been four overdose deaths resulting from this specific heroin trafficking operation.

Shaw argued he has not been charged with a felony in more than three years and asked for a lower bond so he can be there for his 2-year-old son's birthday. He told the judge about his position at TRU Colors and said the job changed his life.

Nevertheless, the judge gave Shaw a $200,000 bond because he was on probation at the time of his arrest.

Graham is being held on a bond of $150,000.

Taylor said the arrests may hurt the company's reputation, but it's part of the growth of the business, which now employs more than 30 gang members.

"It's part of the process," he said. "There's nothing 100 percent. If we could get 80 percent, that would be good. We are way better than 80 percent right now, but still, that's the nature of the business."

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