July 2, 2010
In Harrisonburg this week, three searches and five arrests have netted thousands of dollars worth of drugs in what authorities are calling a methamphetamine operation.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the RUSH Drug Task Force searched three homes in the city.
Five people are facing methamphetamine charges.
The first search, on Lee Avenue, was to seize "marked monies" that had been used in an undercover narcotics operation. Two people, 29-year-old Andrea Rose Charlton and 26-year-old Luis Alberto Castro-Mayorquin, were arrested.
Charlton faces two counts of distributing a schedule II drug. Castro-Mayorquin faces one distribution count and one count of conspiracy to distribute a schedule II drug.
Castro-Mayorquin is also an illegal immigrant from Honduras.
The second search took place on Holly Court. Twenty-two-year-old Pedro Castanera-Arallano, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, faces one count each of distributing a schedule II drug and conspiracy to distribute a schedule II drug.
The third search occurred on East Gay Street with help from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Forty-four-year-old Patricia Lee Custer and 41-year-old Raul Tronco-Ramirez both face one count each of distributing a schedule II drug and simultaneous possession of a schedule II drug and a firearm.
Tronco-Ramirez is an illegal immigrant from Mexico.
In this search, officials seized three-quarters of a pound of crystal meth worth about $9,000, two firearms and more than $3,000 in cash.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office has placed federal detainers on all three illegal immigrants through the 287G program. The program sends local law enforcement officers to get training from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency and deputizes them so they can enforce immigration laws.
The searches were a joint effort between RUSH and ATF and used several techniques to catch these suspects including, but not limited to, interviews, surveillance and undercover operations.