NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A man was found guilty of dealing heroin in North Charleston after police located 1,000 skeleton stamped packets of heroin in a hidden compartment in his vehicle.
United States Attorney Bill Nettles announced on Thursday that Naarl Joseph Richard was convicted of dealing heroin following a three-day jury trial in Charleston. Richard now faces a sentence of up to thirty years in federal prison, without parole.
Testimony developed during trial showed that Richard was identified by sources, and from other investigations, as being a heroin dealer with a New Jersey heroin source.
Court documents state that on May 31, 2009, he drove to Elizabeth, New Jersey and stayed for a very brief time, meeting with an individual before turning around and driving back to South Carolina.
While the car was under surveillance, the North Charleston Police Department initiated a traffic stop of the vehicle for a traffic violation. Police say Richard appeared to be very nervous and lied about his identity. The driver told the officers that they could search the car and officers noticed what appeared to be a secret, hidden "trap" in the car.
They also saw some small packages of heroin that appeared to be stained, which had the brand name of "Came to Kill".
Police ultimately obtained a search warrant and confirmed that the trap was under the console between the front driver and passenger seats. It was opened by the use of a hydraulic lift and the officers were able to open it. Police say they found 1,000 doses of heroin, each with a skeleton stamp. Next to the heroin was a Haitian passport, belonging to Naarl Richard. Police obtained a search warrant for Richard's home and found other documents linking him to the car.
Richard was previously convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in 2002 based on an arrest in New Jersey on Feb. 24, 2001. He was also convicted in 2002 of possession of controlled dangerous substances with intent to distribute out of an arrest in New Jersey on June 15, 2001.
Assistant United States Attorney Nathan Williams of the Charleston office prosecuted the case.
United States Attorney Nettles noted that the conviction was a result of hard work put in by the North Charleston Police Department, working in cooperation with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Nettles commended the efforts of these agencies,"Heroin is a tremendous problem. I commend the teamwork and cooperation required to detect and identify this major drug trafficker. The North Charleston Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration have a tradition of working hand in hand, and this verdict shows the success of that tradition."
Chief Jon Zumalt of the City of North Charleston Police Department said that information sharing and partnership between federal agencies and local police is effective,"Naarl Richard is a major heroin dealer, bringing that drug into our community. The close relationship between my department and the DEA made it possible to determine that this drug trafficker was making runs to New Jersey to pick up large amounts of heroin, which was then brought back to North Charleston. We will continue our close work with Federal agencies to combat the major drug traffickers operating in our community, such as Naarl Richard."
John S. Comer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented, "This investigation is a classic example of what it takes to identify and arrest major heroin dealers. I would like to praise the North Charleston Police Department and Chief Zumalt for the work that they do."