Meth seizure

SEIZED —The above items were seized in Haywood County as part of a joint drug operation.

More than 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine and one kilogram of cocaine were seized from a Haywood County residence as part of a large-scale drug investigation headed up by the State Bureau of Investigation.

According to a press release sent out by the SBI, 26 people were arrested last Wednesday and Thursday after a seven-month investigation that also involved the the Drug Enforcement Agency, Asheville Police Department, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office and the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office.

The release notes that the investigation began in Henderson County but expanded into Buncombe, Haywood and Madison.

“The primary targets of this ongoing investigation, Fabian Carrillo Blas, Abel Carbajal and Mark Leman Tobe, conspired to distribute kilogram quantities of cocaine in western North Carolina, and utilized a large network of associates to do so,” the release reads. “As a result of the investigation, about four kilograms of methamphetamine, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, smaller amounts of heroin pills and marijuana, in addition to several firearms and more than $90,000 were seized.”

“The case culminated in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, with search warrants executed in multiple counties and the arrests of the following 26 individuals, their date of birth and charges,” the release continues.

All suspects were booked by either the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office or the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office. Charges ranged from multiple counts of conspiracy to traffic cocaine to participating in a continuing criminal enterprise.

Although the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office wouldn’t comment on who if anyone was actually arrested in Haywood County and wouldn’t offer the location of the residence where the drugs were seized, Sheriff Greg Christopher, in an email, did offer praise for all agencies involved.

“Law enforcement agencies across western North Carolina worked together to assist in this effort and as a result, a large quantity of meth and cocaine as well as guns were removed from Haywood County and 26 people who had intentions of distributing these drugs to our citizens were stopped from doing so,” he said in the email.

“We are grateful for the partnerships we have built as we work closely with these other law enforcement agencies,” he continued. “Teamwork throughout this operation was critical to its success. We are proud of the excellent work of our deputies who were directly involved in this operation and thankful for their safety.”

This investigation is ongoing. Additional drug/trafficking charges and/or arrests may be forthcoming. No additional information is available at this time.

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