Recent Charlotte murders linked to drug violence

Recent Charlotte murders linked to drug violence

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by RAD BERKY / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @RadBerkywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 10:41 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 18 at 11:18 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say the last two murders in the city can be linked to an increase in marijuana sales and deals that have gone bad.

"Murders can happen when you are engaged in illegal activity, particularly drug deals," said Deputy Chief Eddie Levins.

Investigators say the latest incident happened Tuesday night on Marlowe Avenue when Roy Bethea Junior was shot and killed.

"Marijuana sales and violence and other crimes related to marijuana sales throughout the community have increased," Levins said Thursday.

Michelle Baker lives in the Marlowe Avenue neighborhood.

"There's a lot of gunshots we hear all of the time," Baker said.

She said she worries about her kids and is not surprised that marijuana sales have led to violence.

"It is a business.  It makes money and people go crazy when money is involved," Baker said.

"These are people who are victimizing each other in the drug trade -- transactions that have gone bad.  So much of this can be prevented," said Levins.

One Marlowe Avenue neighbor who did not want to be named said there has to be other options offered to young people growing up.

"Make steps towards improving the economy.  If they have jobs, they won't have a reason to go into that," he said.

While the focus recently has been on crack, cocaine, and heroin, marijuana seemed to be an afterthought.

"People think it is a victim-less crime and there is no violence associated with it.  I beg to differ," said Levins.

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