Castalia town commissioner and Democratic N.C. Senate candidate Clarence Alexander Bender was arrested on drug-dealing charges Thursday by Nash County deputies.
Bender, 54, was charged with three counts of trafficking opium or heroin and maintaining a vehicle/dwelling/place for the keeping and storage of a controlled substance.
He was arrested during a traffic stop on N.C. 58 between Nashville and Castalia and taken into custody without incident, said Nash County Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Wooten.
“We were attempting to locate him, and we noticed him in a vehicle and performed the stop,” Wooten said.
Bender’s arrest culminated a two-month joint investigation between the Nash County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency that resulted in the seizure of 119 prescription pills, Wooten said.
Authorities began their investigation of Bender after receiving information that he might be selling prescription narcotics, Wooten said.
Bender is being held under a $300,000 secured bond in the Nash County jail and is scheduled for his first court appearance Friday in N.C. District Court in Nashville.
Bender is challenging N.C. Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, for the 11th District seat in the N.C. Senate.