News Releases


New taxi cab permit rules adopted
by John Charles Robbins
Daily Journal Editor
September 12, 2012
The Rockingham City Council on Tuesday adopted amendments to the city’s Taxicab Permit Ordinance, designed to make certain that permits are only in the hands of law-abiding drivers.

The tougher rules are the result of a request of council made by Police Chief Billy Kelly.

When Kelly became chief earlier this year, he began studying the city’s numerous rules, regulations, ordinances and so on and “there were weaknesses he found in the taxi cab ordinance,” City Manager Monty Crump said.

Kelly had requested the proposed rules as they relate to reporting charges and convictions by taxicab permit holders to the Police Department.

Crump said the existing ordinance had no mechanism to deal with taxi drivers who ran afoul of the law.

Under the new language, the ordinance will now require taxi permit holders to report within 3 days if they are charged or convicted of a crime, and will allow the police chief to temporarily revoke a license while a criminal case is pending.

Also in the amendment, “… a permit may be revoked for three (3) years upon conviction of larceny.”

Crump said the city attorney, upon review of the proposed amendments to the Taxicab Permit Ordinance, discovered it had no appeals process. The attorney suggested the council add an appeals procedure into the ordinance. The final adopted version now includes a way for a permit holder to appeal a decision made by the police chief to the city manager.

The vote to adopt the amended taxicab ordinance was unanimous.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council:

• Applauded the accomplishment of Police Lt. Creed Freeman, who was presented an Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate by Police Chief Kelly and the mayor.

• Approved an update to the city’s Sewer Use Ordinance.

• Heard a complaint from a resident who rents a house in the 100 block of West Avenue, Pee Dee, about a large tree that fell onto his truck. He said he’d been told the tree was on city property and he wanted the city to remove the downed tree. City officials told the man it was on private property and was his responsibility. He told councilmen he can’t afford to have someone help him remove the tree.

• Accepted $20,000 in federal funds to be used by the police department for highway safety enforcement.

• Learned that the Rockingham Fire Department has been re-certified in several levels of rescue and emergency procedures.

• Councilman Deane wanted to warn city residents that the Rockingham Fire Department never solicits monetary contributions, and that he’s heard of attempts made by groups to “misled” people into donating money that allegedly would go to support the fire department.



Read more: Richmond County Daily Journal - New taxi cab permit rules adopted 





Three charged after meth lab bust
by Staff Report
May 26, 2012

Griggs
Griggs
Turner
Turner
Winfield
Winfield

Three men have been charged in connection with a methamphetamine lab that was discovered in Rockingham on Wednesday night.

Police have charged Charles Wesley Griggs, 52, of 276 Safie Fifth St. , Rockingham, with manufacturing meth, maintaining a dwelling and possession of drug paraphernalia. Michael Carlton Turner, 38, of 167 Safie Sixth St. and William Thomas Winfield Jr., 42, of 12603 Quarter Charge Drive, Spotsylvania, Va., also face felony charges for manufacturing meth, police said.

According to police reports, the Rockingham Police Department, along with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration responded to Griggs’ residence in East Rockingham after receiving a tip from an anonymous caller that claimed the three men were making methamphetamine behind the residence.

East Rockingham Fire Department, Rockingham Fire Department and several volunteer firefighters were also among the first responders called to the scene.

Upon arrival, the Vice Narcotics Division and the Sheriff’s Office discovered an active meth lab at the residence, police said.

Griggs, Turner and Winfield were detained for decontamination before being sent to FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital for exposure treatment, according to police.

Police said that after being cleared by a medical doctor, the three men were processed and placed in the Richmond County Jail, each under a secure bond of $200,000. On Friday, all three still remained in custody.



Read more: Richmond County Daily Journal - Three charged after meth lab bust 





Arrest made in toddler death
by Mallory Brown
May 25, 2012

Kydeem Ervin Balile Swinnie
Kydeem Ervin Balile Swinnie

Police have arrested a Rockingham man for the death of a 21-month-old boy found at a local motel earlier this month.

After a two-week investigation, Kydeem Ervin Balile Swinnie, 19, of 105 Frank Davis Road, Rockingham, has been charged with first degree murder, according to the Rockingham Police Department.

The toddler was found on Wednesday, May 10, in a motel with Swinnie, who was watching the child while its mother was out running errands, police said. Swinnie had been maintaining a permanent residence in the motel for some time and was not the child’s biological father, according to police.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., Swinnie notified 911 dispatch that the child had gone into cardiac arrest and was not breathing. EMS was immediately notified.

When first responders arrived on the scene, the child was taken to FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital where he was later pronounced dead, said Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly. The chief said he could not release the child’s name.

Upon arrival at the motel, Chief Kelly said officers recognized Swinnie for having an outstanding warrant on a charge of assault by strangulation. He was then taken into custody on the previous warrant.

“The (State Bureau of Investigation) and the police department continued the investigation,” Kelly said, “and, through medical examination, were able to take out a warrant on Swinnie for first degree murder.”

Police said that the combination of autopsy results and further investigation provided them with enough evidence to determine the cause of death.

On the earlier warrant alleging assault by strangulation, Swinnie remained in jail until sometime last week when he was released from custody, Kelly said.

Swinnie was arrested on the homicide charge on Wednesday of this week, and was again placed in the Richmond County Jail, with no bond. After a court hearing on Thursday, his bond was lowered to $300,000. He remained in custody.

“We’re glad we were able to close this case,” Chief Kelly said.

He added that the SBI was a valuable resource for the police department.

“They gave us all the help we needed,” Kelly said, “and their assistance really made this arrest possible."


Read more: Richmond County Daily Journal - Arrest made in toddler death 


Ellerbe man charged with manufacturing marijuana
by Staff Report

May 22, 2012
Contributed photo Pictured are Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. and Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly with seized plants.
Contributed photo Pictured are Richmond County Sheriff James Clemmons Jr. and Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly with seized plants.
Marcus Lorenzo Dunn
Marcus Lorenzo Dunn

On May 22, 2012, the Rockingham Police Department and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Vice Narcotics Divisions ended a joint investigation into a “home grow” of marijuana in Ellerbe.

Following the investigation, police charged Marcus Lorenzo Dunn, 28, 120 Holly Hill Drive, Ellerbe, with manufacturing marijuana.

According to the police department, an anonymous tip lead to the arrest when neighbors sighted suspicious plant growth at Dunn’s residence.

Dunn had 49 marijuana plants growing in his yard with a street value of more than $120,000, based upon the State Bureau of Investigation’s latest numbers, police said. The plants yielded a tax value of more than $1,300, according to police.

Dunn was placed in the Richmond County Jail under a $5,587 bond.
















Cash and narcotics seized in drug busts
by Staff Report
May 22, 2012

Pictured are Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly and Lt. Detective Jones observing some of the Hydrocodone tablets and money seized during the investigation.
Pictured are Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly and Lt. Detective Jones observing some of the Hydrocodone tablets and money seized during the investigation.



In two unrelated incidents, the Rockingham Police Department Vice Narcotics Division, with the aid of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Division, recently seized more than $9,000 in U.S. currency and illegal narcotics with a street value of approximately $3,500.

On April 25, 2012, the Rockingham Police Department Vice/Narcotics Division finalized an investigation into a narcotics trafficking ring during a vehicle stop on East Washington Street where Rosa Ann Thomas, 38, of Whitney Lane in Rockingham, and Freda McDonald, 37, of Jackson Street in Ellerbe, were found to have possessed approximately 300 tablets of Hydrocodone-based narcotic tablets, police said.

During the course of the investigation, police learned that Thomas and McDonald had just sold a large amount of the tablets to Inez Lizenby of Rockingham, records show. According to the Rockingham Police Department, this was a routine process for McDonald. All three suspects were charged with trafficking in opiates and maintaining a dwelling for the sale of narcotics.

They were placed in the Richmond County Jail under bond.

Separately, on May 3, 2012, members of the Rockingham Police Department and Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics divisions executed a search warrant at 329 Earl Franklin Drive, based upon information gathered during a joint investigation into the sale of marijuana out of the residence. Recovered from the search warrant was a large quantity of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, as well as more than $9,000 dollars in U.S. currency, police said.

Authorities charged Isaiah Roberts, 44, of the listed residence, Veronica Roberts, 49, of the listed residence, and Dorn Lyles, 64, of the listed residence, with possession with intent to sell/deliver marijuana, maintaining a dwelling for the sale of narcotics, and selling marijuana, records show.

All three were placed in the Richmond County Jail under bond.

Rosa Thomas Rosa ThomasIsaiah RobertsIsaiah RobertsDorn Lyles   Dorn Lyles

                                                                                                            
Read more: Richmond County Daily Journal - Cash and narcotics seized in drug busts 






Anonymous tips lead to drug arrests
by Staff Report
May 19, 2012

McKinnon
McKinnon
McDonald
McDonald
McKenzie
McKenzie

A series of anonymous tips led to the arrest of four Richmond County men in April, according to police.

After an ongoing joint investigation by the Rockingham Police Department and Richmond County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics divisions, police arrested Lonnie Mathew McKinnon, 47, of 971 Ledbetter Road, Rockingham, Jim Whitesmith McDonald, 52, William Brothel Bostick Sr., 47, of 694 Bear Branch Road, Rockingham, and Quentin McKenzie, 23, of 109 Hood St., Rockingham, on various drug charges.

McKinnon was charged with selling cocaine and possessing with the intent to sell cocaine, police said. He was placed in the Richmond County Jail under bond.

McDonald was charged with possessing with the intent to deliver cocaine, selling cocaine and conspiracy to sell cocaine.

Bostick was charged with conspiring to sell cocaine with McDonald, police said.

Following the arrests made earlier in the week of April 20, 2012, members of the Rockingham Police Department SWAT team executed a narcotics based search warrant at 109 Hood St. where narcotics and drug paraphernalia were seized, police said. Authorities charged McKenzie with possession with intent to sell/deliver marijuana, possession with intent to sell/deliver cocaine, selling marijuana, selling cocaine, maintaining a dwelling for the sale of narcotics, and possession of drug paraphernalia. McKenzie was placed in the Richmond County Jail under bond.

According to the Rockingham Police Department, information received by concerned citizens sparked these investigations and the arrests would not be possible without those anonymous tips and the investigative tools the Vice/Narcotics unit has at its disposal.

Read more: Richmond County Daily Journal - Anonymous tips lead to drug arrests 




Rockingham man arrested after yearlong man hunt
by Staff Report
26 days ago 
Michael Maurice Conaway
Michael Maurice Conaway

A yearlong man hunt concluded Monday, April 30, 2012, when authorities with the State Bureau of Investigation and the Rockingham Police Department Vice Narcotics Division arrested Michael Maurice Conaway, 26, of 114 Hillary Lane, Rockingham.

According to police, a three-month investigation between both agencies led to charging Conaway with trafficking cocaine. He was in the process of being federally indicted for this charge when he allegedly fled the Richmond County area.

Authorities later received information that Conaway was hiding out in an apartment with a female subject in Rockingham. The SBI formulated a stakeout at the apartment and within a matter of minutes, authorities were able to spot Conaway, Rockingham Police Department said. Once Conaway realized authorities were in the area, he allegedly attempted to flee and was apprehended shortly thereafter on the apartment complex grounds.

Upon apprehension, police said they recovered another large quantity of suspected cocaine as well as suspected marijuana.

“The Vice Narcotics unit is working hard to make drug arrests in Rockingham,” said Rockingham Police Chief Billy Kelly. “Conaway was gone for a year, and we continued looking for him until we got him. The Vice unit did very well … as soon as they found out he was here, they got a location, staked it out and apprehended him.”

Conaway was placed in the Richmond County Jail under a secure bond of $150,000.

Read more: Richmond County Daily Journal - Rockingham man arrested after yearlong man hunt 








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