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'Fries extra crispy' special orders serve up a drive-thru drug bust at Epping Burger King

By JASON SCHREIBER
New Hampshire Union Leader

January 25. 2017 8:59PM
Epping police conducted a sting at the drive-thru window of the Burger King on Route 125. (JASON SCHREIBER/Correspondent)

EPPING — A manager and another employee of a local Burger King are facing drug charges after a police sting for allegedly using the drive-thru to serve a meal with a side of marijuana.

Garrett Norris, 20, and Meagan Dearborn, 19, both of Raymond, were arrested following an undercover operation on Jan. 21 that was planned after authorities heard reports of drugs being sold through the drive-thru window using the code word “fries extra crispy.”

Dearborn, a shift manager who was working at Burger King on Wednesday, denied she knew anything about drugs being sold at the drive-thru.

“I didn’t know what was going on, but since I took the order and gave them the food they charged me,” she told the Union Leader.

Police Chief Michael Wallace has heard other allegations of drug sales at fast food drive-thrus in the past, but said this is the first time his department has ever made an arrest in such a case.

“We don’t know how long it’s been going on,” he said.

The sting was a joint operation conducted by Epping police and the Rockingham County Drug Task Force with assistance from the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office.

The sting was organized after police received information in recent weeks about the possibility that other drugs were being sold at the Burger King and posed a health risk, Wallace said.

During the investigation, Wallace said, police learned that buyers would pull up to the drive-thru speaker and ask if “nasty boy” was working. Wallace said “nasty boy” referred to Norris. If he was there, Wallace said, they would order their meal and ask for “fries extra crispy,” which was the code for a marijuana sale.

On the night of the sting, Wallace said a bag of food was sold through the drive-thru along with a coffee cup containing a small amount of marijuana. He said Norris had marijuana stored in his personal belongings at the restaurant.

Money for the marijuana sale was paid at the window, the chief said.

Norris was charged with possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute.

Dearborn was charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled drug. She was also charged with unlawful possession of alcohol. Wallace said police found her with alcohol at the time and she was under age.

Wallace said police believe Dearborn knew about Norris selling the marijuana and assisted, but she claims that’s not true.

“Basically there was an undercover cop that one of my employees sold to and I took the order and I got arrested,” she said, adding that she also didn’t know about the “fries extra crispy” code.

Authorities said the case is unusual because it involved someone inside the restaurant.

“Although I can’t comment on the specifics of this case, I can tell you that in my experience in past cases, the deals are being conducted in the parking lots,” Deputy Rockingham County Attorney Patricia LaFrance said.

A representative from Burger King Corp. did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Norris and Dearborn were released on personal recognizance bail and are scheduled for arraignment Feb. 28.

jschreiber@newstote.com


Crime Epping



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