HAMLET — Two men are facing several drug charges after allegedly trying to avoid a police checkpoint.
According to the Hamlet Police Department, officers were conducting a “Traffic Safety Checking Station” on Friday, Jan. 20 when they noticed a vehicle make an illegal U-turn before reaching the station. (The location is not given in the press release.)
Officers reportedly attempted to stop the vehicle for the violation and a slow-speed pursuit ensued for 1.3 miles until the vehicle turned into a residence.
During an investigation officers reportedly found an unspecified quantity of both crack and powder cocaine, methamphetamine, mushrooms, ecstasy, xanax, oxycodone, hydrocodone and marijuana, as well as two stolen firearms and an unspecified amount of cash.
The driver, 38-year-old Brent Edward Rankin of Charlotte, and passenger, 34-year-old Martin Richard Bowman of Hamlet, were both arrested.
Both are each charged with: possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver marijuana; trafficking in methamphetamine; possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine; felony possession of a Schedule II controlled substance; possession of a stolen firearm; altering or removing a gun serial number; resisting a public officer; carrying a concealed gun; conspiracy to traffick in methamphetamine; conspiracy to sell or deliver a Schedule I controlled substance; possession of drug paraphernalia; and simple possession of a Schedule III controlled substance.
Bowman is also charged with felony possession of cocaine and allowing an unlicensed person to drive.
Rankin is additionally charged with possession of methamphetamine; possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver methamphetamine; conspiracy to sell or deliver a Schedule II controlled substance; fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle; and driving with a revoked license.
Both were booked into the Richmond County Jail and are being held on a $500,000 secured bond and are scheduled to appear in court Feb. 2.
Online court records show Rankin has pending charges in Mecklenburg County from 2015: felony possession of marijuana; misdemeanor possession of a half-ounce to ounce and a half of marijuana; and a misdemeanor probation violation.
Records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction show Rankin was first convicted in Union County of possession of drug paraphernalia in 2006.
Rankin was also convicted in 2017 of misdemeanor possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance and resisting a public officer in Mecklenburg County.
Bowman has no prior convictions in North Carolina.
All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.