Mount Airy police have announced the arrests of three people in the wake of a search that produced quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with a combined street value exceeding $160,000.
A search warrant was executed in late February at a residence at 535 Penn St., located off Rockford Street not far from Northern Hospital of Surry County. This was the culmination of a five-month joint investigation by the Mount Airy Police Department, Surry County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation, officials say.
The search resulted in the seizure of 876.5 grams of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $87,650, 7 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $79,400 and 6 grams of cocaine valued at $1,200.
Also seized were firearms and an unspecified sum of money.
Those arrested were Jesus Ramirez Barrera, 44, and his wife, Patricia Gonzales Ramirez, 42, both of the 535 Penn St. address, and Christian Alejandro Cazares, 23, of Dobson.
All three people are charged with multiple felony violations including trafficking in methamphetamine; possession of marijuana with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver; possession of cocaine with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver; and maintaining a drug dwelling.
Each also is accused of two misdemeanor offenses, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
Barrera, Ramirez and Cazares were confined in the Surry County Jail under $750,000 secured bonds.
They are scheduled to appear in District Court on March 28.
Part of broader probe
Police Chief Dale Watson said Tuesday that the arrests of Barrera, Ramirez and Cazares did not happen in a vacuum, but are part of an intensive effort targeting illegal drug trafficking locally by the various law enforcement agencies involved.
“It all correlates to a larger investigation,” Watson said, which additionally included the recently reported arrest of Gerardo Gallegos, 26, of 451 Old U.S. Highway 52, Mount Airy, involving meth and marijuana.
The police chief also explained the delay in authorities not readily reporting the late-February search and arrests on Penn Street until this week.
Such searches sometimes generate additional information or leads that officers follow up on “and can open up further investigation,” Watson said.
In certain instances, information about searches and arrests is not immediately released if individuals implicated offer to provide assistance leading to the charging of others, he added, which can be accompanied by a need for secrecy.
Two of the three people whose arrests have just been announced have unlawful immigration status.
“I believe the husband and wife were here illegally,” the police chief said of Barrera and Ramirez.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.