MARSHVILLE, N.C. -- Authorities have seized more than $3 million worth of marijuana and nearly $50,000 in crystal methamphetamine in a drug investigation spanning Union and Moore counties.
Union County deputies have arrested three men on felony drug trafficking charges and Moore County deputies have charged a fourth following a Wednesday night investigation of a meth and marijuana drug operation that crossed county lines, Union County officials said.
An undercover drug investigation in Moore County led detectives to Union County Wednesday night to arrest suspect Amador Villa Flores on felony meth trafficking charges. Based on information from Moore County deputies, Union County deputies began to investigate two homes in Marshville and Monroe that police believed were linked to the Moore County investigation.
Late Wednesday night, Marshville police and deputies searched a residence at 1120 Unarco Drive, where they found more than one pound of crystal meth, worth about $46,000, as well as $8,975 in cash, three handguns and a rifle. Two men, 29-year-old Antonio Gaytan Lopez and 26-year-old Octavio Valdez Villa, were arrested on felony drug trafficking charges.
Later that night, police obtained a search warrant for a home at 6215 East Lawyers Road north of Marshville. Officers confiscated 745 pounds of packaged marijuana and four firearms.
Deputies said the street value of the marijuana is $3,278,000. They arrested resident Alton Devonne Greene, 60, after discovering the drugs and guns.
Greene was in the Union County Jail Thursday charged with trafficking marijuana by possession, maintaining a dwelling for keeping or selling controlled substances and possession of controlled substances. His bond is set at $500,000.
Lopez and Villa were also in the jail Thursday; Lopez is charged with conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, trafficking in methamphetamine by sale and trafficking in methamphetamine by delivery. His bond is set at $500,500.
Villa faces the same charges as Lopez and is additionally charged with possession of drug paraphernalia with a bond set at $500,000.
In Moore County, Flores was in jail on $100,000 bond and charged with trafficking methamphetamine by possession, transport, deliver and sale, conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, felony possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle for sale or possession of a controlled substance and resist, delay and obstructing an officer.
“We appreciate the diligence of the Moore County Sheriff’s Office in uncovering this criminal enterprise, and we are grateful that they passed the information to us and provided assistance that led to these arrests and seizures,” Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. “Likewise, we appreciate the assistance from the Marshville and Monroe police departments. Criminals don’t recognize jurisdictional lines, and it makes me proud that officers from four separate agencies can mobilize on short notice to bring down a major distribution operation like this.”