ROCKINGHAM — Deputies reportedly found cocaine and weed in a car pulled for a traffic violation.
According to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the Community Impact Team pulled over 56-year-old Al Sylvester Smith, of Rockingham, on Sunday, Sept. 11 for driving with an expired registration plate.
The location of the traffic stop was not identified in the press release.
One of the investigators, who approached the vehicle on the passenger side, reportedly saw Smith “reaching into the back seat and around the console” and thought Smith was “trying to hide something.”
Smith allegedly told investigators that his license was suspended. Online court records show Smith has a Dec. 14 court date for driving with a revoked license.
Investigators asked Smith to step out of his vehicle and walk over to a patrol car so they could run his information, according to the sheriff’s office.
Other investigators at the scene began searching the vehicle and reportedly found suspected cocaine and suspected marijuana wrapped in napkins in the area where Smith was believed to be trying to hide something.
(Note: the press release does not specify whether or not Smith consented to a search.)
Smith was arrested and charged with one felony count each of possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine possession of cocaine, and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.
He was also charged with one misdemeanor count each of possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (the press release did not mention what paraphernalia was reportedly found), and cited for traffic violations.
Smith was booked into the Richmond County Jail under a $5,000 secured bond. Online jail records appear to show he has been released. His court date was not readily available as his charges did not appear in online court records at the time of this writing.
Records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction show Smith has several prior convictions in other counties.
Smith was first convicted in 2004 on two felony counts of forgery in Anson County. It appears he was convicted on a third count the following year and his probation on one of the earlier counts was revoked and he was incarcerated for six months.
In 2009, Smith was convicted in Anson on two felony counts each of insurance fraud and obtaining property by false pretenses.
Two years later, he was convicted of failing to notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of an address change and having improper vehicle equipment in Randolph County. He was also convicted of failing to notify the DMV in Anson County.
DPS records appear to show that Smith’s probation on three of the four convictions from 2009 was revoked twice — in 2014 and 2015 — landing him behind bars for three months each time.
His most recent conviction was in 2018 for misdemeanor larceny in Richmond County.
All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.