Rowan man dubbed ‘Godfather of Drugs’ in custody for weapons violations

A Rowan County man dubbed the “Godfather of Drugs” is back in state custody today, authorities say, after he was charged with two firearms violations while on federal supervised release. Clarence William “Will” West, 44, of Salisbury, was charged Wednesday after multiple law enforcement agencies served a state search warrant on a Scott Road home.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT) and the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), along with the Drug Enforcement Administration, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Lexington Police Department and the Davie County Sheriff’s Office jointly served the warrant.

The U.S. Middle District Court indicted West for violating the terms of his parole and issued the arrest warrant in late June. The indictment said West had a Ruger 9 mm handgun on two separate occasions.

West has an extensive criminal history, including a federal drug conspiracy conviction in the Western District of North Carolina, as well as assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. West was transported to Greensboro for an initial appearance.

West was charged with selling nearly 5 kilos (11 pounds) of crack cocaine, worth at the time an estimated $1 million, in early 1996. West was regarded at that time as one of the “top crack dealers” in the city, according to a 1996 Post article.

In the late ‘90s, West and his brother, Anthony West, left town for New York. Anthony West was shot and killed in an armed robbery and Clarence West was able to elude law enforcement for nearly a year before being arrested. West is in custody of U.S. Marshals and is expected to be arraigned July 16 in Greensboro.

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