GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A member of the MS-13 street gang and two other people were arrested this week for having two kilograms of methamphetamine, Gaston Police said.
Investigators said 36-year-old Cristian Cabrera-Rivas has an extensive criminal history and is an illegal immigrant with several prior deportations.
Silvia Hernandez-Iturralde, 29, and Marco Tulio Ramos Garcia, 35, were also arrested. They are also illegal immigrants.
All three suspects were being held on bond and immigration hold. Police said the meth was valued at $200,000.
According to police records, Cabrera-Rivas, the suspects were arrested in the Eastridge Mall parking lot. Authorities said several children were also taken into protective custody.
This is the second time in less than two weeks that crime has spilled onto the mall's property.
The day after Christmas 2018, Gastonia Police said a driver pulled into the mall's parking lot to seek help after being shot in a road rage incident. Investigators have not made an arrest in that case.
Mall management told NBC Charlotte incidents like these two cases are rare, and they emphasized neither crime started within the mall itself. They said customer safety is a priority, and they have various security measures in place 24 hours a day.