KANNAPOLIS — The Rowan County Sheriff's Office seized three kilograms of cocaine worth $150,000 Wednesday, the department's biggest cocaine seizure in more than a decade.
Two people were arrested Wednesday evening in Kannapolis when authorities seized the drugs, concluding a multi-agency operation.
The Sheriff's Office charged Jose Benitez Esquibel and Martin Nieto Perez with multiple felony drug counts. They are being held under $1 million bond each.
The investigation, which was under way for several months, involved the Rowan County and Davie County sheriff's offices, the Kannapolis Police Department, the SBI and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Capt. John Sifford said Esquibel is an illegal immigrant who has previously been deported as a felon.
Around 8 p.m. Wednesday, an undercover officer met Equibel at a Kannapolis location to buy cocaine, according to a report.
Officers took Esquibel into custody and located 1 kilogram of cocaine on the back floorboard of his vehicle.
Investigators then went to Perez's residence at 820 Timberwood Lane, and located an additional two kilograms of cocaine, the report said.
Sheriff Kevin Auten said Thursday the 3 kilos of cocaine is the most seized by the Sheriff's Office since a bust on April 21, 1999.
In that instance, the Sheriff's Office, working with ICE, Salisbury Police and the SBI, arrested three people off Long Ferry Road.
Auten noted it is unusual that no guns were seized in the arrest Wednesday night in Kannapolis. Usually with a cocaine bust that large, officers would find guns.
Charges stemming from the arrests are:
- Esquibel, 28, 1024 Canyon Lane, is charged with two counts of trafficking cocaine, two counts of possession with intent to sell cocaine, one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine and one count of delivery of cocaine.
- Perez, 25, of 820 Timberwood Lane, was charged with one count of trafficking cocaine, one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, one count of possession with intent to sell cocaine, and one count of maintaining a dwelling to store controlled substances.
Friday, June 18, 2010
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