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Alexander Co. fire leads to discovery of thousands of dollars in illegal drugs

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TAYLORSVILLE, NC (WBTV) -

Firefighters in Alexander County discovered more than just flames at a mobile home on Mount Pleasant Church Road late Friday night.

Just after they had knocked down the fire enough to enter the home and investigate, Vashti Fire Chief Steve Carson noticed something that he thought was unusual.

"There was a cash counting machine on a poker table," he said.

It was the type of counting device that handles only bills and is one you might see at a bank and not in someone's living room, said Carson. When he reached a back bedroom he noticed some packages in plain view and discovered illegal drug residue in one of then.

Carson then called the Sheriff's Office and they sent investigators with a drug sniffing dog.

The dog pointed the way to hidden drugs in various parts of the house, said Chief Deputy Tod Jones.  

Twenty-six pounds of marijuana, two pounds of cocaine, a pound of methamphetamine and $16,000 in cash were found as well. Some of it was in a shoe box, others in cabinets, and the cash was under two layers of carpeting in a bedroom.

"In my opinion this was a Stash House," said Jones. A Stash House, he explained, is a point of distribution for drug dealers.

"It's brought to the Stash House and then from there is taken and sold on the streets."  Jones believed  most of the drugs  ay have been imported, possibly from Mexico.

No arrests have been made because so far, authorities have not been able to identify who was living there. The people who rented the property have vanished, said deputies. The man who owns the property said he had been approached by several Hispanic men six months ago to rent the trailer but never got their full names. 

"They were nice to me and so I let them have it," said Jerry Wike.  Wike said he made it clear that he didn't want any drugs in the trailer and said the men agreed.

"They hadn't done nothing wrong to me," he said of the day he rented the place though now, he thinks, they have. The agreement was the men would pay rent and a share of the power bill.

The electricity on the trailer ran off of Wike's meter. Wike said now, with the men gone, he is left to pay an outstanding power bill of close to $500 by himself. Wike is trying to find out the real names of the men and so are authorities. "I just don't  know what to think about it all," he said.

Investigators believe the renters had ties to drug dealers in several counties. They think it is possible they have fled the state and maybe even the country. Anyone with information is urged to call the Alexander County Sheriff's Office.

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