Two Arrested In Johnston County Drug Bust
Posted April 8, 2003 9:02 a.m. EDT
SMITHFIELD, N.C. — Johnston County deputies are investigating a huge drug bust near Smithfield.
Deputies said they they found 300 pounds of marijuana Sunday as they executed a search warrant in a double-wide mobile home in the Brodgen area of the county.
Two people have been arrested and are being held on $5 million bond each. The suspects have been identified as 22-year-old Gilberto Hernandez Aburto and 21-year-old Gaston Jaimes Sosa.
The two men were arrested at a local business at the same time that the search warrant was executed at their residence.
Sosa told authorities that his name was Enique Garcia Hernandez.
Deputies said the marijuana, with a street value of $878,000, was commercially compressed, packaged and wrapped for distribution.
Also seized was a 1998 Dodge Intrepid and more than $1,200 in cash.
Though the bond amount may seem high for drug charges, Johnston County sheriff Steve Bizzell said Monday's arrests crippled a major drug pipeline into his county that apparently has existed for some time.
Bizzell said that earlier in the investigation that led to Monday's arrests, deputies had purchased 55 grams of powder cocaine about two months ago The cocaine had a street value of approximately $6,000.
"It may seem like a lot," Bizzell said of the $5 million bond. "But when the drugs are coming into our streets, being offered to our children, well, I'm glad to see it."
Aburto has been charged with one count of trafficking cocaine by possession, one count of trafficking cocaine by sale, one count of trafficking cocaine by delivery, one count of trafficking cocaine by transportation, one count of Level II trafficking marijuana by possession, one count of conspiracy to traffic in marijuana, two counts of maintaining a dwellling for a controlled substance and one count of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Sosa was charged with one count of Level II trafficking in marijuana and one count of conspiracy to traffic in marijuana.
Bizzell said he hopes the arrests sent a message to others who may want to traffic drugs in his county.
"My message to the drug dealers has not changed," Bizzell said, "and they will soon realize 'it's the county line or the county jail.'"