NEW BERN — District Attorney Scott Thomas announced Thursday Charles Purcell Morris Sr., 54, of Newport, over the course of multiple appearances, pleaded guilty to the sale of drugs in Carteret and Craven counties.
According to a Thursday afternoon release from the district attorney’s office, he recently pleaded guilty in Carteret County Superior Court to the sale of cocaine. Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson sentenced Mr. Morris as a habitual felon and ordered him to serve a sentence of 87 to 113 months’ imprisonment, or about seven to nine and a half years.
Later in the week, Mr. Morris appeared in Craven County Superior Court and pleaded guilty to charges of possession with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a childcare center, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver methamphetamine and conspiracy to possess with intent to sell or deliver a counterfeit controlled substance. Superior Court Judge Clinton Rowe sentenced Mr. Morris to a term of imprisonment lasting 50 to 72 months, or about four to six years.
“My office continues to work closely with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute drug dealers in our district,” Mr. Thomas said in the release. “This prison sentence should send a clear message to drug dealers that there is a consequence for their illegal conduct.”
During the course of investigations by the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, Havelock Police Department and Morehead City Police Department, detectives reportedly used confidential informants to conduct controlled purchases from Mr. Morris and individuals allegedly working at his direction. According to the release, a confidential informant arranged for the purchase of $300 worth of methamphetamine, during which Mr. Morris allegedly contacted the informant to say he would be bringing an accomplice with him from Morehead City to make the transaction.
Later that day, Mr. Morris arrived in Havelock with an accomplice who reportedly completed the transaction with the informant, the release states. The substance provided by Mr. Morris was later analyzed and found not to contain a controlled substance.
On another occasion, officers with the HPD, MCPD and the CCSO reportedly used a confidential informant to arrange a transaction for $140 worth of methamphetamine at a grocery store in Havelock. Mr. Morris arrived at the grocery store and allegedly instructed the informant to come into the bathroom of the store where he made the exchange.
Later, a Morehead City detective reportedly used an informant to arrange a controlled purchase of cocaine from Mr. Morris and others in the parking lot of an apartment complex in Morehead City.
At the time of these reported offenses, Mr. Morris had three prior felony convictions, which made him eligible for prosecution as a habitual felon. He had previously served a prison sentence as a habitual felon since 2004.
The case was prosecuted in court by assistant district attorneys Chekesha Hukins and David Spence. The North Carolina State Crime Lab performed laboratory analysis on the suspected narcotics.