A joint drug task operation between the Tarboro Police Department and the Edgecombe County Sherriff's department made a bold statement with the May 18 arrest of a Georgia man on charges of smuggling two kilograms of methamphetamine with a street value of $1 million. The bust was one of the largest street valued-drug seizures of any kind in the history of Edgecombe County.
N.C. State Bureau of Investigations is assisting with this ongoing investigation.
According to Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight, the task force had received information that Martin Aguilera Torres, 48, was coming to Tarboro from Georgia with the illegal substance. With the description of the vehicle and the suspect on-hand, the authorities stopped Torres on Western Boulevard near the Waffle House in a truck carrying tortilla chips. Knight said investigators uncovered two kilograms of methamphetamine underneath the chips.
"With methamphetamine gaining popularity in surrounding counties, this appeared to be the first large shipment of the drug coming to Edgecombe County, and is a significant hit to the organizations attempting to use this area for a distribution area," Knight said. "We will not tolerate it."
Torres was charged with four counts of trafficking methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle to transport methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was placed in the Edgecombe County Detention Center under a $1 million bond where he remains.
"All drugs are a danger to the communities, but methamphetamine is dangerous in many ways," said Tarboro Police Chief Damon Williams. "With the potential for meth lab fires, the amount of children that are known to being exposed to these labs, and the uptick in general crimes that occur when methamphetamine gets entrenched in the communities, its best to do everything possible to keep it from ever becoming a major problem."
Methamphetamine may be gaining popularity in Edgecombe County. In December, the Sheriff's Department uncovered the county's first meth lab in December after a traffic stop revealed that occupants of the vehicle had been smoking meth. A search of their home near Mildred revealed a lab inside a storage building.
"I'm determined to keep methamphetamine out of Edgecombe County," Knight said. "I know the dangers of this particular drug in our communities. Not only in terms of the highly addictive nature of this drug, it also ends up costing the agencies thousands of dollars more trying to control the problem. If we can keep this drug from gaining a foothold in the area, then we will be better off for it."
Knight is not only concentrating on keeping methamphetamine off the streets but all drugs. A collaborate effort between Tarboro Police Department and the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Department have recently roundup about 40 alleged street level drug dealers during operation "Spring Fling." According to Williams more arrest are forthcoming in the campaign.
Knight and Williams encourage citizens to report illegal drug activity. Reports can be made anonymously to the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office at 641-7911 or the Tarboro Police Department at 641-4247.