Drug bust nets cash, drugs, 7 arrests
Senior Staff Writer
A probation search may have uncovered a major drug ring in Nevada County Thursday with possible ties to a Mexican methamphetamine superlab.
Seven people were arrested at a home on the 10000 block of Bitney Springs Road on suspicion of a variety of drug charges and warrants, according to Sheriff Keith Royal.
Officer confiscated two pounds of methamphetamine, 1/4 pound of cocaine, one pound of processed marijuana kef, $48,000 in cash, two rifles and a pump shotgun, according to Sgt. Bill Smethers of the Narcotics Task Force.
Working on information of a possible large cache of drugs and cash, task force officers and deputies raided the residence of Eric Southard, 49, about 3 p.m.
He was arrested at the scene on suspicion of drug charges and a probation violation stemming from an August 2006 arrest for marijuana cultivation, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
Also arrested at the home were Southard’s girlfriend, Camie Young, 39, on suspicion of drug charges, and a friend, Gerald Faunce, 50, on a local misdemeanor warrant.
Shortly after their arrests, officers learned that cash and drugs might be buried on the property, Smethers said. Following trails, officers unearthed $18,000, one pound of methamphetamine, the cocaine and the kef. Another $16,000 was found in a pump house.
During the search, Jesse Gardener, 37, and Glen Taylor, 49, drove on to the property, Royal said. Gardener was arrested on suspicion of drug charges and two local warrants. Taylor was arrested on a local felony warrant for allegedly violating his probation.
Just after Gardener and Taylor were arrested, two more men drove onto the property, spotted the officers and allegedly tried to flee, Smethers said.
Officers caught and arrested Alfonso Corrales, 24, and Hilario Carranza, age unknown, on suspicion of drug charges. Federal drug enforcement officials think Corrales and Carranza may have big drug operation ties, Royal said.
“We found out this was a major distribution link to Nevada County and linked to a known large drug ring, most likely from a Mexican superlab,” Royal said.
Officers allegedly discovered $12,000 hidden in a sidewall of Corrales and Carranza’s vehicle and a pound of methamphetamine underneath a speaker, Smethers said.
See Saturday’s edition of The Union for the full story.
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