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2 charged after deputies find pound of cocaine

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LOUISBURG — Officials say two men worked to traffic cocaine between Franklin and Johnston counties.

The men were arrested earlier this month after a three-month probe by the sheriff’s offices in both counties turned up more than a pound of cocaine during multiple searches, according to a press release. Investigators also found marijuana and a stolen gun, they said.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said one of the suspects, Bryon Keith Lee in Franklin County, was being supplied by the other man, John Allen Lee Sr., who lived in Benson. It wasn’t said if Bryon Lee and John Lee are related.

During “numerous undercover operations,” detectives bought cocaine from Bryon Lee, the release said. Then on Dec. 5, deputies found nearly two ounces of cocaine in Bryon Lee’s vehicle during a traffic stop, deputies said.

A 5-year-old was in the car at the time of the stop.

Afterward, deputies executed a search warrant at Bryon Lee’s home in the Lake Royale Community of Franklin County. In the home, deputies found 12.2 ounces of cocaine along with marijuana, cash and three guns, including one that had been reported stolen, the release said.

“Anytime we are able to remove this amount of drugs from our community, it is a good day,” Sheriff Kent Winstead said in a statement.

Assisting the two sheriff’s offices were the Lake Royale Company Police, the State Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Winstead remarked on the “professionalism and teamwork” in the partnerships that ensured “we disrupted this drug activity and its source.”

Bryon Lee, 42, of Turon Drive in Louisburg, was held on a $1.88 million secured bond. He was charged with six counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, six counts of selling cocaine, seven counts of maintaining a vehicle or dwelling place for a controlled substance, five counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of selling a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park.

John Lee, 62, lives on North Hall Street in Benson. He was charged with five counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a stolen firearm and maintaining a dwelling place for a controlled substance.

He was held on a $300,000 secured bond.

More charges are expected, the release said.