Bail set at $4 million for firefighter charged with selling drugs in downtown Raleigh

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A judge set bail at $4 million each Thursday afternoon for a Raleigh firefighter and his wife accused of selling drugs in and around businesses in Glenwood South and the downtown Raleigh area.

Nicholas Benjamin Banister, 35, was arrested and charged with multiple offenses, including trafficking cocaine, LSD, ecstasy and amphetamines. Amanda Lee Banister, 35, was also arrested and charged with multiple drug charges.

Alcohol Law Enforcement officers began an investigation into the pair and reportedly bought cocaine, LSD, ketamine and MDMA from the two in April, according to a news release and copies of their arrest warrants.

A search warrant of a home on Long Cove Court found:

  • 884 grams of cocaine,

  • 540 grams of ketamine

  • 325 grams of MDMA

  • 16 pounds of marijuana

  • 13.6 ounces of psilocybin mushrooms,

  • 3,383 methamphetamine pills,

  • 9,283 Xanax pills,

  • 216 dosage units of LSD

  • two firearms

  • a pill press

  • $69,050

“ALE special agents work to address criminal activity at ABC permitted businesses throughout the state” Bryan House, director of N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement, said in the news release.“This investigation into drug dealing around establishments in the Glenwood South and downtown Raleigh areas uncovered the Banisters’ elaborate drug trafficking operation.”

Banister, whose passport was seized, is a senior Raleigh firefighter and has worked for the city since 2013. He is on administrative leave, according to the city.

According to the release, Banister was charged with:

  • Possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine (3 counts),

  • Selling and delivery of cocaine (3 counts),

  • Possession with intent to sell and deliver ketamine (2 counts),

  • Selling and delivery of ketamine

  • Possession with intent to sell and deliver LSD,

  • Selling and delivery of LSD,

  • Possession with intent to sell and deliver MDMA,

  • Selling and delivery of MDMA,

  • Conspiracy to sell/distribute cocaine,

  • Conspiracy to sell/distribute ketamine,

  • Conspiracy to sell/distribute LSD,

  • Maintain a vehicle for use, storage and sale of controlled substances (3 counts),

  • Trafficking cocaine (4 counts)

  • Trafficking in MDMA

  • Trafficking in amphetamine

  • Trafficking in LSD (4 counts),

  • Trafficking in marijuana

  • Possession with intent to sell and deliver psilocybin mushrooms,

  • Possession with intent to sell and deliver Xanax,

  • Maintaining a dwelling to keep and/or sell controlled substances,

  • Manufacturing MDMA,

Crime in Glenwood South

Police and the city of Raleigh have cracked down on the nightlife district on the edge of downtown after repeated complaints from nearby residents and businesses.

Police Chief Estella Patterson said recent increased crime statistics, including a tripling of illegal guns seized, show the departments “zero-tolerance” approach to crime in Glenwood South and the downtown core. Law enforcement have increased their presence in the area especially on weekend nights.

The city has also increased fines for people parking in nearby neighborhoods and adopted new fines for noise violations.

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