Berger arrested near ski resort


New Hanover County Commissioner Brian Berger was arrested in Avery County, N. C. June 10 after an encounter with law enforcement coincided with a June 9 warrant for his arrest due to six probation violations.

After Berger left his last known residence, the Wilmington Jameson Inn, May 21, his parole officer was unable to contact him. The same day, a parole violation report states Berger refused to submit to a scheduled drug screening and admitted to using marijuana prior to the appointment.

A Beech Mountain Police Department press release states Sargent T. Barnett was dispatched to Berger’s location on June 9 to respond to gunshots fired in the area.

Because Berger would not open the door, Sgt. Barnett conversed with him through the door, acquiring his name and birthdate. After discovering the order for his arrest, officers returned on June 10 and found Berger surrounded by a small arsenal of weapons including a switchblade, sword, crossbow, 37 mm grenade launcher, pistols, air guns and rifles with high capacity magazines.

Officers reported Berger did not resist arrest or reach for the weapons.

The weapons are licensed a friend of Berger’s whose name has not been released. The friend told police he allowed Berger to stay at his residence, believing him in poor spirits, but did not give him permission to access the weapons.

Berger could be charged with breaking and entering. Beech Mountain Police Department charged Berger with possession of drug paraphernalia after finding a marijuana pipe but no illegal drugs.

As of 2 p.m. on June 11, Berger was still in custody at the Avery County Jail on $300,000 bond. Berger’s case is calendared for a June 12 hearing at the New Hanover County Courthouse.

Keith Acree, spokesperson for the N.C. Department of Public Safety, said probation officers were working with Avery County deputies to move Berger, estimating his arrival in Wilmington late on June 11.

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