One charged after officer witnesses drug deal while refueling at gas station

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

SALISBURY — A man was arrested on Monday in relation to an incident where a police officer witnessed a drug deal occur while filling the tank of his patrol vehicle in March.

The incident occurred at approximately 8:30 p.m. on March 22 at the Speedway gas station located at 500 E. Innes St., according to police reports. There, an officer was refueling his patrol vehicle when he noticed a person get in a car and drive away before shortly coming back, said Sergeant Justin Crotty, a spokesperson for the Salisbury Police Department. After the vehicle reentered the parking lot, the officer reportedly witnessed another person enter the vehicle before getting into another car and driving away.

The officer suspected he had just witnessed a drug deal and coordinated a joint traffic stop with other officers, stopping both the original vehicle and the second vehicle he witnessed drive away, said Crotty.

During an interview of one of the men, later identified as 30-year-old Josue Esau Nunez-Ramirez, he allegedly admitted that the incident was a planned drug deal that had fallen apart because of disagreements about pricing. Based on that information and further investigation, the officers took out arrest warrants for conspiracy to commit a felony for the name that Nunez-Ramirez had given them, Crotty said. 

The man named in the warrant was reportedly arrested a few days later by the East Spencer Police Department. However, when the officers from Salisbury arrived on scene, they realized that the man that had been arrested looked similar and sounded similar to the Nunez-Ramirez interviewed, but was a different person, according to Crotty. Officers reportedly discovered that the man they had interviewed had actually given them his brother’s name, which was who was arrested.

Nunez-Ramirez was arrested on Monday and served with the initial warrant of felony conspiracy to commit a felony. Officers also took out and served warrants for felony identity theft and misdemeanor resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer for the alleged use of the brother’s name.

Nunez-Ramirez was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center and given a $22,500 bond by magistrates, according to jail records.

Another man, identified by police records as 31-year-old Patrick Lee Todd, was arrested at the intersection of East Innes and North Clay streets on the day of the original incident. He was charged with felony possession of a schedule II controlled substance. Todd was also served with multiple warrants out of Guilford County, including kidnapping, felonious restraint and robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons. Todd was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center and given a $31,000 bond by magistrates, according to jail records.