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PHOTOS | 13 arrested in multi-agency bust seizing $1.3 M worth of methamphetamine

Photos: State Bureau of Investigation

More than a dozen people were arrested Wednesday night and Thursday morning following an investigation that also netted 24 pounds of methamphetamine, money and guns.

“The drugs were headed directly for our streets,” said McDowell County Sheriff Dudley Greene. “We’re glad they didn’t get there."

It was a joint investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Department, McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, Marion Police Department, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, the N.C. Highway Patrol, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Morganton Department of Public Safety and the Prosecutorial District 29A District Attorney’s Office.

The investigation focused on the distribution of meth, primarily in McDowell and Rutherford counties. During the process, it was determined that the drugs were coming from the Atlanta area into McDowell and Rutherford for distribution in those counties.

Beginning on the evening of Wednesday, December 27, 2017, authorities conducted multiple search warrants in both counties and arrested 13 suspects. Their names, charges and bonds are as follows:

  • Tracey Lynn Arnold, 54, of Dedmond Road in Mooresboro, one count each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $1 million bond
  • Andy Darren Green, 49, of Andrews Mill Road in Bostic, two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $1 million bond
  • Roman Guzman, 27, of Lexington, S.C., one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $500,000 bond
  • Ruben Guzman, 26, of Spartanburg, S.C., two counts each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and trafficking in methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $5 million bond
  • Ashlea Nicole Hawkins, 34, of High Shoals Church Road in Mooresboro, one count each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $100,000 bond
  • Joshua Michael “Bubba” Lipe, 37, of Indian Waters Drive in Old Fort, two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $5 million bond
  • Dennis Eugene Medley, 35, of Beechwood Road in Mooresboro, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $1 million bond
  • Tonya Chris-Ann Mullinax, 40, of Jack McKinney Road in Forest City, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $1 million bond
  • Deidre Diane Pearson, 38, of Dedmond Road in Mooresboro, two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $5 million bond
  • Dustin Bo Pearson, 30, of Cliffside St. in Rutherfordton, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $1 million bond
  • Robin Ann Rhyne, 54, of Highway 70 Business East in Ellenboro, two counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise; $1 million bond
  • Allison Michelle Smith, 51, of Souther Road in Old Fort, one count each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and continuing a criminal enterprise; $5 million bond
  • Wesley Chad Smith, 42, of Durham Road in Mooresboro, one count of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine; $500,000 bond

During the investigation, authorities seized 24 pounds of methamphetamine, an unknown amount of U.S. currency and a cache of 43 firearms, ranging from handguns to assault rifles. Twenty-two pounds of the methamphetamine were confiscated during the arrests Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“Meth is still a major problem in this area,” said Chief Deputy Ricky Buchanan of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office. “Our goal is to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations in and around McDowell County, and I believe this investigation did just that.”

Authorities say additional arrests are forthcoming.

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