Deputies concerned after bust turns up ballistic vests

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — During a drug bust in Orange County, investigators say they seized over a dozen firearms to include semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic handguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, 3 ballistic vests and over 90 grams of Cocaine from Daryl Crawford’s home.

In addition to the number of firearms and ammunition in the home, the three bullet proof vests concerned them.

“One of my biggest concerns is that being used against us should a force-on-force situation occur,” said Brandon Wilkerson, an investigator with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Bullet proof vests are sold throughout the state. Wilkerson said that could be a problem.

“With the ballistic vest that the possessed, if it was to become a deadly force situation where gunfire was exchanged, it may take longer to resolve the situation with the protection the vests do provide,” he said.

In North Carolina, any adult can purchase a vest as long as they are not a convicted felon.

Even with background checks and permits required to purchase pistols, he said, handguns frequently wind up in the wrong hands.

“They can purchase ballistic vest, firearms of any magnitude really, if that have the proper permits to purchase that, and they can be sold on the street for twice the value to people who are involved in criminal activity,” said Wilkerson.

Wilkerson understands that the law allows protection to people who need it, such as security guards.

But, he says those who purchase them for other reasons can be dangerous for law enforcement.

“I would categorize it as militarizing yourself with that amount of ammunition, firearms, ballistic vests, and if you run into a barricaded situation it can cause a lot of problems,” he said.

In addition to local stores selling bulletproof vests, they are also sold conveniently online.

Crawford is in jail under a $1 million bond.

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