Saturday, July 3, 2010

Suspects in heroin bust likely illegal immigrants

[Rowan County, North Carolina]

Authorities say a group of Hispanics moved to Rowan County about three months ago to start and operate a black tar heroin business serving several counties.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, working with several other agencies, busted the operation Thursday, seizing cash, guns, cocaine and black tar heroin.

Sheriff Kevin Auten said this is the first full-scale black tar heroin operation busted in the county. He noted that black tar heroin usage is on the rise.

Investigators believe the business was connected to suppliers in Atlanta, based on the four-hour time needed for arrival of the product.

Lt. Chad Moose, head of the Criminal Investigation Division, said the Sheriff’s Office began the investigation six weeks ago, after tips from the public.

Heavy traffic at the newly opened business apparently also raised questions.

Auten said Friday that federal immigration officials have placed detain orders on the five Hispanics arrested. They are all believed to be illegal immigrants. A sixth person arrested, Meredith Kristin Simmons, was identified as the girlfriend of one of the men. When officers stopped Simmons and an infant passenger in a vehicle near Porky’s in China Grove, they found drugs. The Rowan County Department of Social Services was called...

[Full Article]