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April 16, 2007
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N.C. police seize over 350 pounds of cocaine and pot

By Anne Blythe
The News & Observer

DURHAM, N.C. — A traffic stop on Fayetteville Street on Friday led to the seizure of more than 200 pounds of cocaine and 150 pounds of marijuana - a drug bust that Durham police heralded as one of the department's largest.

"It is very big," said Chief Steve Chalmers. "This really speaks to our commitment to deal with interstate trafficking and — really — make our community safe."

Durham is a city at the crossroads of two major interstates — the east-west I-40 and north-south I-85. It has been described as a convenient drop-off point for major drug traffickers.

"Any time you have major arteries such as that, we recognize that a lot of drugs are going to be coming through," Chalmers said.

The Durham haul is among the largest busts in recent North Carolina history.

In August, federal agents seized 220 pounds of cocaine after a traffic stop on U.S. 1 in Wake Forest.

Last June, the Wake County Sheriff's Department recovered 2,300 pounds of marijuana in an abandoned truck in Zebulon.

In September 2005, the Highway Patrol found 286 pounds of cocaine in a tractor-trailer hauling cars in Western North Carolina.

On Friday, investigators on the Durham Police Department's Interstate Crime Enforcement Team stopped a Ford Ranger on Fayetteville Street, one of the city's major throughways.

Officers found 11 pounds of cocaine in a secret compartment, according to Durham police.

Investigators then executed three search warrants and seized $300,000 in cash, a Tec-9 assault pistol, three vehicles and drug and money packaging materials.

Investigators said they seized 196 pounds of cocaine and money from 2804 W. Main St. At 113 Herbert St., the marijuana was seized.

Police arrested Filemon Lopez Rebolledo, 28, of Yakima, Wash., and 2804 W. Main St. in Durham; Jose Antonio Gonzalez Velez, 38, of 120 Alexander Drive in Oxford; and Luis Castellanos Gomez, 34, of 113 Herbert St. in Durham. They were in the Durham County jail under $25 million bail each.

Copyright 2007 The News and Observer

Full story: N.C. police seize over 350 pounds of cocaine and pot






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