Greenville police say two multi-agency drug operations have taken more than 24 kilos of cocaine off the streets, worth almost $2.5 million. Some of that had connections to the LaFamilia drug cartel in Mexico.
Chief William Anderson says the first case happened June 5th when the Highway Patrol stopped a car for following too closely at the intersection of Stantonsburg Road and U.S. 264. A drug dog was alerted to the smell of narcotics and inside a hidden compartment they found 10 kilos of cocaine with a street value of $1 million.
Robin Martinez, 34, of Burlington was charged with several counts of trafficking cocaine and is being held on a $500,000 secured bond.
Anderson says in a separate case a multi-agency undercover operation searched a home in the 100 block of David Drive in Greenville on June 6th. They seized a kilo of coke and $238,455 in cash and arrested Eddie Ballard. Authorities say lawmen also searched Ballard's Vanceboro home and found 5.7 kilos of powered coke with a street value of $570,000.
The 37-year-old Ballard is facing charges in both Pitt and Craven counties and is being held on a $500,000 secured bond.
The chief says in related case authorities performed a consent search to a home in Chapel Hill, seizing another 8 kilos of coke with a street value of $800,000. In that search three firearms and $5,000 in cash was also seized. Anderson says the investigation shows the 8 kilos were heading to Craven and neighboring counties. Pedro Ruelas of Chapel Hill was arrested in that raid.
Anderson says the David Drive search, the one on Vanceboro and in Chapel Hill are connected to the LaFamilia Drug Cartel, based in the southwest Mexican state of Michoacam.