Surf City police said in a news release that an officer stopped a driver Wednesday and spotted "illegal contraband."
They said the driver jumped into the ocean and police used a drone to follow the swimming suspect. It recorded video footage of a shark swimming about 60 feet from him before it turned away.
The drone lost sight of him after an hour, more than 4,000 feet offshore.
After a sea and air search by multiple agencies, 20-year-old Zachary Kingsbury of Lynnwood, Washington was arrested near a beach access point in North Topsail.
He faces multiple drug charges.
"I just was running off adrenaline, being scared that I was gonna get in trouble," said Kingsbury.
Kingsbury says he is just happy he was not bitten.
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