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EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE: Former drug dealer aims for second chance

HALLSBORO, NC (WWAY) — Petey Powell, 38, grew up on Red Bug Road, in the small town of Hallsboro. He remembers his dad doing whatever he could to keep his family out of poverty. He was eventually lured by the money he could make in dealing drugs. Petey was just a little boy when the drug trade became a regular part of his life.

“Back then you would see the marijuana in like what you see in church, the envelope paper. I can recall very vividly how I used to see that,” Petey said.

Along with Petey’s father, his two uncles and cousin ran the family business of selling marijuana and cocaine out of a barn in the back yard of his parents’ home. By age 15, Petey was also selling drugs. The Powell boys, as they were called, built a reputation stretching to South Carolina. “They called it the best dope, the best drugs and we were consistent with it,” Petey said.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars would circulate through the barn every week, eventually making the drug trade a million dollar family business.

After graduating from high school, Petey’s dad became addicted to heroin. Petey ended up dropping out of college to lead the family business and sell drugs full-time. “There were days when I’d make $20,000 to $30,000.”

But his high would come crashing down in May 2001. After going on the run for two years, investigators found Petey hiding out in Pennsylvania. “I knew that I had to lay down. I had to go do my time. I had to pay my debts to society.”

He would spend more than 10 years in federal prison, missing out on precious time with his four kids. These days, Powell says his faith in God and love for his family have stirred a change in him. He’s set to release a memoir detailing his bad life choices and his second chance. Petey hopes to leave behind a positive family legacy. “Life sometimes can be hard but any decision you make, you have to learn from that decision and stay positive, know that their dad did some negative things but he also turned his life around.”

Powell will release his book “The Class President’s Son” this Saturday. If you have an extraordinary person next door, email Cacky at ccatlett@wwaytv3.com.

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