First Posted: 1/15/2009
LUMBERTON -- Seven men from three states and two countries are behind bars after $500,000 in cocaine was seized in a parking lot off Lackey Drive.
Sheriff's Lt. C.T. Strickland, supervisor of the Drug Enforcement Division, said that Modesto Gomez Gonzalez, 24, of Monroe, and Luis Javier Villa-Alvarado, 23, and Raul Navarro-Lopez, 27, both of Chicago, face multiple felony drug charges.
Gonzalez, Villa-Alvarado and Navarro-Lopez are charged with trafficking cocaine by possession, trafficking cocaine by manufacturing, trafficking cocaine by transport, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. They are being held at the Robeson County jail, each under $1,051,000 bail.
Bolivar Penaloza-Perez, 42, of Mexico, Ramiro Cortez Gomez, 24, of Dillon, S.C., and Grabiel Carmona-Valencia, 32, and Jose Luis Suazo-Medina, 21, both of Fayetteville, face a single felony charge of conspiracy to traffic cocaine. They are each being held under $250,000 bail.
Strickland said the seven men were jointly arrested by the Lumberton Police Department and the Sheriff's Office about 5 p.m. Monday. He said there is an ongoing investigation of drug distribution organizations in Chicago, Charlotte and Fayetteville that these men are linked to.
Strickland said information from the investigation led law enforcement officers to believe that the men would be in the Lackey Drive area Monday. He said the drugs were found in a duffel bag inside a late-model Mitsubishi Eclipse. The Mitsubishi, a Lincoln Town Car and a Ford Expedition were seized by the Sheriff's Office.
Strickland said he is contacting immigration services, and said it is not clear whether or not the seven men are legal U.S. residents.
“We're hoping the high bond will keep them here so we can sort out more of the details in the organization,” Strickland said. “If they're in jail, they are more apt to tell us what's going on.”