Durham police seize cash, heroin in drug-trafficking investigation

Michael Lamorse Scarborough
Michael Lamorse Scarborough

Durham policed seized cash and drugs worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Durham man charged with trafficking heroin, according to recently released court documents.

Michael Scarborough, 40, faces drug charges after police arrested him in October at a “stash house” where they found about 5.5 pounds of heroin, records show.

Scarborough was released from the Durham County jail Wednesday on $750,000 bail.

The drugs collected in a safe at 805 Dupree St. are worth between $114,000 and $180,000, according to court records. Police say they also seized $189,164 from Scarborough’s bedroom at his home on Spindlewood Court.

Police suspect the drug operation included a “shell business” known as Bayos and Company International Hair Gallery and Boutique.

“I believe that Bayos is used as a front or shell business, as a means to appear to outsiders that the Scarboroughs possessions are supported by legitimate means,” Durham Invesitgator J. Green wrote in a warrant affidavit. “This investigation has yet to reveal another business that the Scarboroughs’ own, making Bayos a probable source for money laundering.”

Bayos is located in a suite in a storage facility on East Geer Street. Its social media pages include recent posts about hiring stylists, sharing photos of clients, advertising Black Friday specials and community giveaways.

A reporter called the number advertised on social media, and a woman who answered said she was Scaborough’s ex-wife. The woman said she is the owner of Bayos, a legitimate business.

The woman referred questions to her attorney, Bill Thomas, who couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

In 2008, Scarborough was convicted of three counts of trafficking a schedule I drug along with other drug charges. He was released from prison in December 2014, according to state documents.

In 1996, Scarborough was convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and involuntary manslaughter.

Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.