"Baker's Dozen" indicted on meth charges, more arrests likely - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

"Baker's Dozen" indicted on meth charges, more arrests likely

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NEWTON, NC (WBTV) -

13 people from Burke and Catawba Counties have been indicted on 99 counts involving the sale and manufacture of methamphetamine.

The "Baker's Dozen" as they are called by the State Bureau of Investigations, had been operating methamphetamine operations in and around the town of Longview. Authorities say the group worked together to obatin the raw materials, most important of them, pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in many cold medicines. "The sale is restricted as to how much and how often you are allowed to buy it, said Pharmcist Chris Kirby.

"It would be hard to get enough of it to make much meth unless it was a big operation," he said. 

That is exactly what investigators say they found. The S-B-I, along with Longview police, the Burke County Narcotics Task force and the catawba County Sheriff's Office worked together break up the operation. It began with the discovery of a meth lab in Longview in February and continued from there.

 Assistant District Attorney Kyle Smith said this bust involved much more than the so called cooks. Those were the first people arrested with investigators "working back to get everyone involved," said Smith.

Many of those charged are what is known as "smurfs" on the street.

They are the ones who aquire the cold medicine and other raw materials for the cooks. Smith said because of the restrictions on purchases, many of the "smurfs" would recruit others to help them buy and pay them in cash or with some of the finished methamphetamine product.

Officials are hoping the indictments will slow down the meth trade in the area. Smith is the narcotics prosecutor and said it is essential that efforts against meth remain strong. "By far, it is the worst thing I see on a daily basis in terms of addiction and effects on the community."

Among the "Baker's Dozen" is a mother and son and a husband and wife. All are scheduled for an administrative hearing in July. 12 of the 13 have been arrested so far with only two of them getting free on bond. The remaining suspect is still being sought. 

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