The seizure of over 220 pounds of methamphetamine in North Wilkesboro on Aug. 8 was announced Tuesday by the North Wilkesboro Police Department.
“After conferring with the N.C. SBI in Raleigh, it is believed that this is the largest amount of methamphetamine ever seized in the Western District and is one of the largest seizures ever in North Carolina,” said North Wilkesboro Police Chief Joe Rankin.
Rankin said the meth has a street value of over $2 million. It was seized as part of a joint investigation in North Wilkesboro by the North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro police departments, State Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations.
The seizure stemmed from the investigation of a large-scale meth trafficking organization that began in June when North Wilkesboro police arrested Juan Molina Sebastian, 55, of 171 Flatplains Drive (off Fairplains Road), North Wilkesboro, stated a North Wilkesboro Police Department press release. Sebastian was arrested with two kilos (4.4 pounds) of meth then.
The North Wilkesboro Police Department conducted a traffic stop on N.C. 115 as part of the investigation on Aug. 8. The press release said 100 kilos (220 pounds) of meth were seized from the vehicle and another six kilos (13 pounds) of meth and several weapons were seized when a search warrant was served at a residence in Wilkes County.
The press release said the joint investigation “couldn’t have been accomplished without the teamwork of numerous agencies that put in countless hours to effectively work a case of this magnitude.” It said these were the North Wilkesboro, Wilkesboro, Boone, Mooresville and Jonesville police departments and the Wilkes, Alexander, Ashe, Surry, Watauga and Yadkin sheriff’s offices, State Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations.
Sebastian is charged with two counts each of trafficking meth, conspiring to traffic meth, maintaining a residence/vehicle for selling meth and possession with intent to sell and deliver meth.
Three other people were also arrested in the investigation. They include Lucia Carbajal Avila, 31, of 171 Flatplains Drive, North Wilkesboro, and Adriana Gomez, 32, of 184 Caballero Farm Lane, Mount Airy, both charged with two counts of trafficking meth and one count each of conspiring to traffic meth and possession with intent to sell and deliver meth. Avila is also charged with maintaining a residence for selling meth and misdemeanor child abuse. Gomez is also charged with maintaining a vehicle for selling meth.
The third person charged is Jorge Eduardo Gomez, 30, identified in the press release as a federal fugitive. Anyone with information concerning his whereabouts is asked to call the North Wilkesboro Police Department, Surry Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation or U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the release stated.
Rankin also stated, “These arrests are the result of many hours of investigative work between all of the above listed agencies and would not have been possible without cooperation between every agency. It is a perfect example of local, state and federal resources working together to provide safe communities for our residents.”
He continued, “These are large scale drug traffickers who we believe are responsible for the distribution of hundreds of kilos of methamphetamine in our communities over the last year. We are continuing our efforts to combat the drug epidemic by prosecuting those who are involved in selling these dangerous substances, and the partnership with these other agencies are critical for these operations.
“I am ecstatic that we were able to seize this large amount of methamphetamine and prevent it from reaching our streets. Undoubtedly, this will save many lives and countless families from heartbreak. The prevention of illegal drug activity in North Wilkesboro is, and will continue to be, one of our highest priorities.”
Wilkesboro Police Chief Craig Garris stated, “These charges are the result of great teamwork to interrupt the flow of dangerous drugs into our area. The scourge of methamphetamine ruins the health of the user and destroys families. We will continue to aggressively pursue those who refuse to be positive contributors to society and bring them to justice. Thanks goes out to all who have helped and will continue to help our investigations.”