Man held on $2 million bond after fleeing deputies, driving wrong way on I-85

Published 5:12 pm Saturday, March 19, 2022

SALISBURY — A man wanted on an outstanding federal probation warrant was captured after fleeing from Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies on Thursday and is being held on a more than $2 million bond for various felony charges.

On Wednesday, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office Crime Reduction Unit and Special Investigations Unit began trying to locate Nathaniel Alexander Neri, 40, on an outstanding federal probation warrant. He had been a fugitive since 2020.

During the investigation, Neri was tracked to a residence in Rowan County. On Thursday, the investigation led to an attempted traffic stop after investigating deputies identified Neri leaving the residence and in a silver Lincoln Town Car.

Deputies attempted to pull the vehicle over after the driver attempted to flee at speeds of approximately 100 mph. During the chase, the driver eventually wrecked into a berm after driving southbound in the northbound lane of Interstate 85 for a short distance. Neri then fled on foot into the wooded area, leaving a passenger in the vehicle. A search was conducted with the assistance of numerous Rowan County Sheriff’s Office divisions, Salisbury Police officers, Spencer Police officers, East Spencer Police officers and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Neri was captured a short time later after he had run across Interstate 85. An inventory of the Lincoln produced drug paraphernalia, suspected marijuana and suspected MDMA (Ecstasy). A search of the area also produced a semi-automatic pistol. Neri is a convicted felon and is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.

A follow-up investigation was conducted into the residence and five firearms were discovered, including a 7.62 assault-style rifle with a high capacity magazine, two 9 mm semi-automatic pistols, a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol and two semi-automatic pistols, a .380 caliber and a .25 caliber, both of which had been reported stolen.

Large amounts of illicit narcotics were also seized, including approximately 37 ounces of suspected heroin, 7.65 ounces of suspected cocaine and 20 ounces of suspected marijuana. These narcotics had a street value worth an excess of $130,000. Drug paraphernalia and currency were also seized.

Neri was charged on Thursday with violations stemming from the vehicle chase and was given a $9,000 secured bond. On Friday, additional charges were filed in regards to the ongoing investigation, including possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen firearm, trafficking in opium or heroin (Level 3), trafficking in cocaine (Level 2) and possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana.

Neri received an additional $2 million secured bond for the additional charges.

He has a lengthy criminal history and had previously been incarcerated in federal prison between 2008 and 2017 for convictions that include possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, resisting a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon breaking and entering, larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of drug paraphernalia.