Buncombe Man Arrested for Possession of Flour and Shrimp
On Sunday, May 1, 2011, at approximately 05:57 hrs., the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office arrested Antonio Carranza. Media coverage of this event has led to concerns among some community members as to the reasons that led deputies to arrest Mr. Carranza.
The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office received a request for assistance from the North Carolina Highway Patrol asking us to attempt to locate a disabled vehicle on I-240. Deputies responded to that area and located a 1998 Ford Explorer sitting in the travel lanes with the emergency flashers on. The deputy stopped behind the car and activated his emergency lights. As the deputy approached the vehicle and attempted to verbally contact the driver to see what was wrong, the driver looked over his shoulder and appeared startled by the deputy. At this time, the driver drove away from the officer eastbound on I-240. The deputy returned to his vehicle and attempted to stop the Explorer using his emergency lights and siren. The driver of the Explorer refused to stop and continued on I-240 at a low rate of speed. The deputy called for assistance to stop the vehicle. Patrol supervisors responded to I-240 ahead of where the pursuit was headed and placed stop sticks in the roadway. The Explorer ran over the stop sticks deflating the tires and causing the vehicle to come to a stop on the side of the roadway. Deputies attempted to remove the driver of the vehicle using verbal commands at which time the driver refused to exit the vehicle. The driver had to be forcefully removed from the vehicle and placed under arrest. The driver was identified as Antonio Hernandez Carranza. Mr. Carranza was transported to the Buncombe County Detention Facility and, due to his erratic behavior, was charged with Driving While Impaired. Mr. Carranza was offered an Intoximeter test which resulted in a reading of .00. The arresting officer then consulted the Magistrate about obtaining a search warrant for a blood test to examine for other impairing substances. The Magistrate refused this request. Mr. Carranza was charged with Driving While Impaired (which the Magistrate dismissed with a finding of No Probable Cause), Failure to heed blue light and siren, Resist/Delay/or Obstruct a Public Officer and Injury To Personal Property. Mr. Carranza was placed under a $1500.00 secured bond.
At this time, there were no drug charges filed against Mr. Carranza. Assisting deputies walked a narcotics detection dog and the dog alerted to the vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed several containers of what appeared to be flour/dough in differing stages of preparation, several pounds of decaying shrimp and a large block of cheese. Samples of the flour/dough were taken and field tested in four different narcotics testing kits and all were positive for the presence of cocaine. The test kits used were of three different manufacturers. The decision was made to charge Mr. Carranza with felony possession of cocaine and hold off on the more serious charges of trafficking until the substance could be definitively analyzed by the SBI laboratory. The District Attorneys Office was made aware of the charge on Monday May 2. The seized items were hand delivered to the SBI laboratory and an expedited analysis was requested. The analysis revealed no presence of cocaine and the charge against Mr. Carranza was properly dismissed.