2 recent homicides in NC university area involved marijuana deals, officials say

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Detectives with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police are still looking for the person who shot and killed a 21-year-old man Saturday night in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Autumn Lake Court.

A police source says the victim was in a car allegedly selling marijuana to someone when something went wrong and the person killed the victim.

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, police say a 22-year-old man was shot and killed on Avebury Drive.

Sources say the shooting happened while the victim was trying to buy marijuana from the suspect. Police arrested George Ivan Hayes a week later and charged him with murder.

There’s no indication that these marijuana-related homicides are connected, but both happened in the University City area, within a mile of each other.

Students living in the University City area say they see and smell weed a lot – both on and off campus.

“I think it’s very prevalent,” a student told WBTV. “A lot of college-age kids do it and it’s around our housing mostly too.”

“I think it depends where you are – definitely in the dorms and stuff and any of the hallways you’re probably going to end up smelling weed, especially on the weekends,” another student said.

Campus police point out that the homicides happened two miles away from UNC Charlotte and didn’t involve anyone affiliated with the school.

“On campus, we do not see violent crime related to marijuana,” said Chief Jeff Baker, who acknowledges that marijuana is around on campus.

“We have a non-discretionary issuance of citations on campus,” Baker said. So if the police are called to a drug or alcohol problem we’re going to issue citations to all applicable parties involved.”

Baker says so far this year, campus officers have written between 300 to 350 citations for drugs and alcohol.

“I would say just about all of those would be related to marijuana.”

Marijuana is a citywide issue but there aren’t any clear statistics about what role marijuana is playing in violent crimes in Charlotte.

Narcotic detectives say major marijuana cases come in spurts. They say they could see about three or four big busts in one month then it goes quiet for a while.

Detectives say unless it’s a trafficking case with at least 10-to-20 pounds of marijuana, most people busted with smaller quantities of weed will get citations.

Police say drugs in general drive violent crime. While some cases may involve only marijuana, others see marijuana, along with methamphetamine and heroin.

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