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Truck stop to locate in Gold Rock as crime crackdown continues

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The former Days Inn hotel in Gold Rock has an unsecured chain link fence around the perimeter. The front entrance of the building is also unsecured.

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By LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Gold Rock Inn on Interstate 95 will be demolished at the end of the year to make way for a large, upscale truck stop just in time for the arrival of CSX's major train-to-truck terminal.

That's the word coming out of a meeting this week between state and local officials to discuss the fate of motels in that area.

Investors who purchased the Gold Rock Inn own adjacent property and have their eyes on another tract of land. A truck stop similar to the Kenly 95 Petro is being planned by developers, according to information provided at the meeting. That truck stop has a dozen restaurants and retail shopping.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone — who was in attendance — said he doesn't care about what is going to be built at the site. His concern is the safety of the people of Nash County. And right now, that safety is threatened by the continued criminal activity at the Gold Rock Inn and nearby Ashburn Inn.

Stone said right now people know to go to the Ashburn Inn for drugs. He wants to disrupt the flow enough so that he can end the thriving criminal enterprise operating out of the motel. Also, his detectives will continue to carry out operations at the Gold Rock Inn until it's demolished.

“We are going full force into investigating the Ashburn Inn,” Stone said.

He told an attorney at the meeting who represents the bank carrying the note for the Ashburn Inn that the owner claimed to have corrected the problems by upgrading the motel's camera system, installing more lights and hiring a full-time night manager. However, recent investigations continue to find drugs, gangs and drugs at the motel.

“We've have multiple charges for selling heroin and a young man arrested with a pistol that had a filed down serial number,” Stone said. “We had a man leave the Ashburn who was stopped and blew three times the legal limit for alcohol. The problems aren't fixed.”

Stone said many of the recent drug overdoses can be traced to the Ashburn Inn, a nexus of activity in the local drug trade.

An agent with N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement attending the meeting said she is working with the Rocky Mount Police Department to compile reports from the area that will become part of the nuisance abatement case when it's filed. The agent said they have documented cases of heroin, crack cocaine and prescription pills being sold out of the Ashburn. Abatement cases allow local officials to request a court order to close businesses involved with or the location of frequent criminal activity.

The old Days Inn in Gold Rock, which is dilapidated and has sat empty for years, has been foreclosed and will be up for public auction in September, said Nash County Attorney Vince Durham.

“The owners don't want to be found,” Durham said of the difficulty in tracking down the owners of the motel who owe back property taxes.

Nash Commissioner Lou Richardson, who represents the Gold Rock area, said she is concerned about the children of families who have permanent residences in the motels and wanted to know whether criminals who are run out of one motel will flock to another one.

Stone said his goal is to make drug dealers and other criminals uncomfortable enough that they move north, out of the county. He said he wants to make sure the families at the Gold Rock Inn receive any needed help before the Holidays.

“We need to make sure they're stable before Christmas,” Stone said.

Nash County Social Services Director Donna Boone said social workers had contacted some residents at the motel in preparation of the closure. She said they will reach out again.

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