First Posted: 1/30/2009
Three suspects were arrested this week and another is being sought following months of investigation into alleged drug trafficking in Surry County.
A cooperative investigation by federal, state and local drug agents led to the arrest of a group of allegedly illegal aliens involved in a what authorities have called a criminal conspiracy to smuggle and distribute illegal drugs into the area, according to Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson.
Leon Alberto Sierra, 20, of 180 Chestnut Oak Lane, Elkin, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with two counts of trafficking in methamphetamines, two counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamines, two counts of maintaining a drug house, two counts of drug paraphernalia. He is being held on a $100,000 secured bond.
Anacleto Ponce-Aguado, 22, of 2457 Dobbins Mill Road, Elkin was arrested on Wednesday and charged with two counts of trafficking in methamphetamines and conspiracy to traffic methamphetamines. He is also being held on a $100,000 secured bond.
Luiz Lazaro Hernandez, 32, of 119 W. Hampton Lane, Lot 24, of Mount Airy, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with trafficking in methamphetamines, maintaining a drug house, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held on a $150,000 secured bond.
Julian Chavez Chavez, 36, of 157 Amelia Lane, Elkin, is wanted on charges of conspiring to traffic methamphetamines.
Nine homes in different locations across Surry County were searched as the result of several months of intense investigation by undercover officers into the trafficking of methamphetamine and cocaine in the county and surrounding areas. During the investigation, officers were able to purchase methamphetamine from members of the organization, Atkinson said.
As the investigation continued, officers were able to gain valuable intelligence that helped connect the dots and establish the criminal connection between group members. As the investigation unfolded investigators interviewed at least one member who cooperated by providing information that led to subsequent charges, Atkinson said.
During the searches 491 grams of crystal methamphetamines, two AK-47 assault rifles, four semi-automatic hand guns, two four-wheelers and $12,818 cash were confiscated.
Atkinson said the men had taken the liner out of a beer coolers and hollowed out the bottom to allegedly transport the drugs. He said they used a dryer sheet n the bottom of the cooler to throw off the scent of K-9 search dogs.
Additional federal charges related to firearms, narcotics and immigration violations are being pursued against several people involved in alleged activity, Atkinson said.
In addition to Surry County Sheriff deputies, the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Stokes County Sheriffs Office, Elkin Police Department and the Mount Airy Police Department aided in the investigation.