WINSTON-SALEM -- Six men -- including three Davidson County Sheriff's
deputies and an Archdale police officer facing federal drug charges -- will
remain in jail without bond, a federal judge ruled Wednesday during a bond

Remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals in the Forsyth County
Detention Center are: Lt. David Woodall, 34, Lt. William Monroe Rankin, 32,
and Sgt. Douglas Edward Westmoreland, 49, all of the Davidson County
Sheriff's Office; Archdale police Sgt. Christopher James Shetley, 35; Wyatt
Nathan Kepley, 26, and Marco Aurelio Acosta Soza, 23.

Soza's hearing was held separately from that of the other five defendants.

The six men were indicted for distributing 220 pounds of marijuana, 11
pounds of cocaine, anabolic steroids and Ecstasy during the past year.

All pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled

U.S. District Court Judge Russell Eliason made his ruling to hold the men
without bond despite a strong showing of community support for them. The
courtroom was filled with friends and family members, who sat quietly as
the judge gave his decision.

Dressed in orange Forsyth County Detention Center jumpsuits and shackled to
one another, the defendants listened as FBI Agent Philip Celestini
testified Woodall threatened to kill Soza's children if Soza did not use
the $32,000 Woodall had given to buy cocaine.

Woodall told an FBI witness about the threat in a recorded conversation,
Celestini said.

He also testified that when agents searched an outbuilding on Virginia
Drive in Thomasville that Woodall had access to, they found between
one-half kilogram and 1 kilogram of cocaine, plastic bags used to package
cocaine and vacuum sealing materials.

When Westmoreland's home in Thomasville was searched, Celestini said,
agents recovered 37 firearms, one with the serial number removed. Agents
also found residue from cocaine and marijuana.

"State Bureau of Investigation agents received a phone call after the
search from a witness wanting to turn over a package he received from
Westmoreland the night before his arrest," Celestini said.

The unnamed witness handed over a Nextel phone box containing $22,500in
cash to agents. Celestini said the witness called the FBI again later to
turn over another box of cash he had received from Westmoreland. That box
held $8,694.

"The witness didn't want to be linked to the conspiracy," he said.

Celestini said cocaine and marijuana weren't found when the homes of
Shetley, Rankin and Kepley were searched.

However, 16 firearms and $9,700 were taken from Rankin at his in-laws'
home, Celestini said. A .45-caliber handgun and steroids were taken from
the apartment of Kepley's girlfriend.

Agents also seized steroids from a storage facility Rankin was using,
Celestini testified.

Eliason scheduled another bond hearing for Rankin in January to discuss the
possibility of his release, which may include house arrest.

"This will not be before the holidays," he said. "I want to give the U.S.
attorney time to do further investigation (into Rankin's role)."

Eliason said from the evidence he heard, Rankin seemed to be the one person
in the conspiracy that the other men didn't trust.

Court dates for the other men have not been scheduled.

Newshawk: chip
Pubdate: Thu, 20 Dec 2001
Source: Greensboro News & Record (NC)
Copyright: 2001 Greensboro News & Record, Inc.
Author: Cheris Hodges, Staff Writer, News & Record
Bookmark: (Corruption)