Police shut down major meth dealers
by Kellen Moore
A lengthy drug investigation ended early Friday morning in Boone with two arrests and the seizure of about one pound of crystal methamphetamine.
The Boone Police Department said the drugs had an approximate street value of $57,120, and the arrest shuttered what officers believe to be one of the largest distributors of meth in the Watauga County area.
The investigation targeted a closely knit network of drug distributors, and officers identified Luis Enrique Garcia as the main distributor, according to Sgt. Shane Robbins of the Boone Police Department.
Overnight Thursday, officers executed a search warrant at Garcia’s residence at 671-B Howard’s Creek Road in Boone. There they seized a large amount of money, drug paraphernalia and approximately one pound of crystal meth, Robbins said.
Garcia and Javier Gomez Sanchez, of the same address, were both arrested and charged with one count of felony trafficking methamphetamine, according to police, who expect additional arrests to follow.
Both are being held at the Watauga Detention Center under a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer, Robbins said.
“This case is a real victory for law enforcement and the citizens of Boone, as well as all of Watauga County,” Police Chief Dana Crawford said in a news release. “This seizure will definitely have an impact on the drug trade in our region for some time.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the five-year investigation, including Boone Police Department, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation, N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Officers used an array of tactics including physical and electronic surveillance and the use of drug detection K-9s during the investigation, according to police.
“This is a perfect example of intra-agency cooperation at its highest,” Sheriff Len Hagaman said in a news release. “Through this effective and coordinated operation, these narcotics officers were able to successfully infiltrate a major and well-organized methamphetamine distribution operation and take a substantial amount of meth off of our streets.
“I am very confident that there will be more arrests and successful prosecutions as these local, state and federal agencies move forward with this investigation.”