Warrants: Major distribution center for illegal drugs shut down, - | WBTV Charlotte

Warrants: Major distribution center for illegal drugs shut down, 31 arrested

3045 Artz Road (David Whisenant-WBTV) 3045 Artz Road (David Whisenant-WBTV)

What law enforcement officials are describing as a major distribution center for methamphetamine and heroin has been shut down in Rowan County.

31 individuals are facing federal drug charges, with charges pending against one more person.

The eighteen-count indictment alleges violations of federal drug trafficking and firearms laws. All thirty-two defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute and manufacture methamphetamine, possession of pseudoephedrine, possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine, and the distribution of heroin.

Remaining counts of the indictment charge various defendants with the unlawful possession with the intent to distribute and the distribution of controlled substances, and with firearms violations.

Law enforcement officers say the drugs that came through Rowan County were distributed in several counties in piedmont North Carolina.

The search warrant states that the investigation has resulted in "the seizures of clandestine methamphetamine laboratory sites, many pounds of methamphetamine ice, tens of thousands of dollars in cash, multiple weapons and numerous arrests."

As the culmination of a nearly three year long investigation, on March 4, federal agents along with members of the Rowan Sheriff's Office and the SBI executed a search warrant at 3045 Artz Road near the town of Faith.

The warrant the residents are listed as David Fox, Morgan Nicole Pepper, and Matthew Walter Robertson.

SWAT teams and a helicopter from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol were used in the search.

According to the warrants, it was believed that the residents of this property were involved in "smuggling of contraband into the United States; the unlawful importation of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana."

Investigators determined that "large amounts of methamphetamine ice, and in some occasions heroin, were being transported from Mexico to California to Washington State to North Carolina for distribution."

"In one of the most significant seizures," the warrant states, "7.72 pounds of ice was found at the residence on Hope Elizabeth Berrier on Thursday, October 29, 2015, in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina."

Ice is a more potent form of methamphetamine.

Investigators determined that the drugs in that seizure belonged to John Clinton Dunbar, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, "who was dealing directly with Mexican national suppliers."

Based on that, and much more information gathered over the course of the investigation, law enforcement officials obtained the warrant to search the property on Artz Road.

Investigators say David Earl Fox was selling drugs from the collection of mobile homes and outbuildings on the Artz Road property.  The going price was $500 to $700 per ounce, according to the warrant.

Cooperating witnesses told law enforcement that they had seen Fox conduct up to 20 drug transactions per day.

According to the affidavit, investigators seized 32 grams of methamphetamine located in a book bag in the guest bedroom.

Among the other items seized were several bags of what investigators believe to be illegal drugs, seven cell phones, digital scales, $440 in cash, $391 cash in a safe, an additional $382 in cash found in the left cup of the bra of Morgan Pepper, a mirror with a razor blade and two $1 bills, and a black magnetic box containing three syringes.

Pepper is currently in the Rowan County Detention Center under $15,000 bond on a number of drug charges.

Investigators returned to the home on March 8 with another search warrant, finding another set of digital scales, plastic bags, a cellphone, and other items.

Charged in the case so far are Andrew Scott Bost, Marco Antonio Santillan, Michael Eugene Long, Steven Bryan Wiggins, Michael Justin Antosek, John Clinton Dunbar, Teresa Hurley Dunbar, Barney Scott Paschall, David Shane Reid, Hope Elizabeth Berrier, Gary Wayne Benson, Tonya Renay Garrison, Oliver Dwayne Quinn, David Earl Fox, James Patrick Myers, Matthew Walter Robertson, Zackery Craig Cline, Kimberly Michelle Guske, Jonathan Morrison Norris, Christina Marie Moore, Jeremy Paul Bowers, Mark Brandon Templeton, Richard Sidney Murphy, III, Emily Grace Vuncannon, Arnie Preston Rabon, Scott Andrew Fraley, Thomas David Martinez, Jamie Lynn Myers, Jeffrey Wayne Long, Jessie Gray Rhodes, and Jeremy Dean Yancey.

Investigators are still looking for Reuben Guerrero-Espinoza.

The case was investigated by the NC State Bureau of Investigation, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, the Davie County Sheriff’s Office, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, the Kannapolis Police Department, the Salisbury Police Department, the Statesville Police Department, the Landis Police Department, the China Grove Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive, the NC State Highway Patrol, NC Alcohol Law Enforcement, the NC DPS Community Corrections, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, CA.

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