RALEIGH, N.C. — A joint effort between local and federal authorities culminates in a major drug bust.
During the course of an ongoing investigation, authorities said Rafael Gama of Durham was a key drug trafficking figure, and he was placed under surveillance. On Thursday, Gama was arrested in Raleigh during the course of a drug deal. After a search of his car, authorities found 16 kilograms of cocaine.
Following Gama's arrest, officers with the Raleigh Police Department officers, Wake County Sheriff's Office deputies, and a Durham Police Department officer conducted a search of Gama's residence. The search revealed an additional 7 kilograms of cocaine, along with cash, $3,000 in counterfeit bills, weapons and a small amount of marijuana.
The Raleigh Police Department and the Wake County Sheriff's Office led the investigation, with assistance from the Garner Police Department, the Clayton Police Department, the Durham Police Department, the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
In a joint statement, Raleigh Chief of Police Jane Perlov and Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said, "The officers of the Raleigh Police Department, the Wake Sheriff's Office, and every other agency involved did a great job and a great service to the public by taking dangerous drugs and weapons off the street and by putting a major drug supplier behind bars. This case should send a strong message to those involved in drug trafficking in this area, and we strongly advise them to listen to it."
In addition to the cocaine, officials found $81,790 in cash, $3,000 in counterfeit bills, eight firearms, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. The total value of the seizure is estimated at $2,384,110.
"This is a good way to start off 2004," Harrison said.
"Nobody is too good to get caught and to face justice," Perlov said.
Authorities also said that Gama was in the country illegally. He is currently in the Wake County Jail.