Deputies: Alert Student Resource Officer In Union County Thwarts Drug Dealing Duo

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — Deputies say a school resource officer at Piedmont High School in Union County used her training to help safeguard a school and stop narcotics from being distributed in the community, according to a news release.

The SRO was conducting a foot patrol of the campus when she observed a student attempting to enter a vehicle and leave the school without permission. The SRO spoke with the student, 18-year-old Jordan Carnes, and told him to return to class and began trying to gather additional information on the vehicle that was attempting to give Carnes a ride away from the school.

A short time later, the SRO was notified that the vehicle had returned to the campus and that Carnes had left the school again through a rear exit and gotten into the vehicle that had previously tried to pick him up. The SRO immediately notified other deputies and a search began for the student and the vehicle.

Deputies located the suspicious vehicle at a nearby church and attempted to speak with Carnes and the driver. As deputies approached the vehicle, the driver put the car in gear and fled at high speeds striking a UCSO vehicle as he left the church parking lot, according to a news release. During the pursuit, the passenger, Jordan Carnes, is accused of getting out of the vehicle but was quickly apprehended by deputies. During Carnes’ apprehension, deputies say they located and seized assorted narcotics including THC vape pens and marijuana from his person.

Other UCSO deputies joined the pursuit which then continued into Mecklenburg County and ended in the 5400 block of Waylong Drive as the driver stopped his vehicle and fled into the nearby woods. Deputies conducted an extensive ground search of the area where the suspect fled with the assistance of local K-9 teams and CMPD’s Aviation Unit but they were unsuccessful in locating the suspect.

A search of the suspect’s vehicle yielded his state-issued driver’s license and a large quantity of illegal narcotics, according to a news release. The driver has been identified as 18-year-old Jonah Robert Payne of Charlotte. Deputies say they located and seized approximately 2.5 pounds of marijuana, assorted packages of THC edibles disguised as standard snack foods, multiple boxes of THC vape pens, psilocybin mushrooms or “shrooms”, and 2 pints of prescription-grade cough syrup.

The vehicle driven by Payne was seized pursuant to NC’s “Run and You’re Done” law. Based upon the quantity of narcotics found inside Payne’s vehicle and the manner in which it was packaged, deputies say they believe Payne is a source of supply/bulk distributor of illegal narcotics in the Charlotte and Union County areas.

Jordan Carnes was arrested and transported to the Union County Jail where he has been charged with Possession of Marijuana up to 1⁄2 Oz., and Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia. He remains in custody under a secured bond of $2,000.00.

Deputies obtained warrants for the arrest of Jonah Payne who has been charged with 18 separate offenses including but not limited to: Felony Flee to Elude, Sell/Deliver Schedule I CS, Manufacture/Sell/Deliver/Possess CS within 1000 Feet of a School, and Felony Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance. UCSO deputies will now focus their efforts on locating and apprehending Payne on the outstanding warrants.

Deputies can confirm that Payne never entered any of the buildings on the school’s campus during this incident. During the pursuit, local schools were placed into lockdown status as a precautionary measure. Additional UCSO deputies will be at the school tomorrow morning to ease any concerns local parents may have.

Sheriff Eddie Cathey adds “Once again one of our SROs used their training, experience, and the knowledge of their students to safeguard one of our school campuses. These narcotics distributors attempted to introduce illicit, dangerous substances into our schools and were stopped by an attentive deputy who deeply cares for her students. I cannot overstate the importance of having a trained, professional deputy within our schools that is dedicated to the protection of our children, youth, and staff members from dangerous criminals.”

The investigation into this matter is ongoing and UCSO deputies ask that anyone with information pertaining to this case or the whereabouts of Jonah Payne contact our office at (704)283-2789, Union County Crime Stoppers at (704)283-5600.