DOBSON — The white, crystalline mountains of methamphetamine seized in a recent drug bust may appear as though chipped out of a Christmas movie but in reality have a much darker connotation.
“I have never in my time here seen anything that compares to that,” said Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson. “Those crystals are huge.”
The sheriff’s office announced Thursday that a joint investigation with the Mount Airy Police Department and the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest of two Yadkinville residents found in possession of more than seven pounds of the controlled substance.
Ana Karen Bartolo, 26, and Elver Manuel Campos, 35, of Oakwood Drive, were each charged with three counts of trafficking methamphetamine and one count of maintaining a vehicle for the purpose of storing and transporting controlled substances.
Atkinson said in a statement that officers had received information that the pair were traveling between Yadkin and Surry counties distributing large quantities of methamphetamine.
On Nov. 22, investigators received information that they had left their residence in Yadkinville and were headed towards Surry County, with a final destination believed to be somewhere in the Beulah area.
The couple’s two young children were in the car with their parents when officers located and stopped the vehicle on U.S. 89 near Graceland Lane, Atkinson said.
A search revealed a little more than a kilogram of methamphetamine in the vehicle’s passenger compartment and an additional quantity of about five pounds in the rear area.
In a simultaneous search of the suspects’ home, more meth was discovered as well as cocaine and $8,000 cash.
The couple remain in the custody of the Surry County Detention Center, Campos under an $812,000 secured bond and Bartolo’s set at $750,000.
Campos, who Atkinson noted has several aliases, was also found to have been previously deported.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) filed a detainer for Campos.
“If he makes bond on the charges here, ICE wants him held,” Atkinson explained, noting that the criminal process will be completed before ICE moves forward with removal.
“This is a very significant seizure,” said the sheriff, referring to both the amount of meth discovered and the fact of its crystallized form.
The large crystals discovered, “tells us they were produced in a very professional, very controlled setting,” he said. “This was not a ‘shake and bake’ deal.”
Atkinson said an investigation is ongoing and that more charges are expected.
“Part of the investigation is where the suspects fall in the chain,” he said. “This is not a two-person operation.”
The sheriff also said the bust served as example of how much more efficient law enforcement can be when different agencies work together.
“We need to do more of it,” he said. “Nobody cared where the bad guys got arrested. It just so happened this time they got arrested in the county’s jurisdiction.”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.