Pictured above: David Warren Sandford, Jr., Montino Deshaun Dalton, Octavio Lizarraga Ayala – Picture courtesy of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Darren Campbell stated: The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Interstate Criminal Enforcement (ICE) Team, and the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) conducted a four day operation on the major interstate highways in both counties, Interstate 40 and Interstate 77 in Iredell County, and Interstate 85 in Rowan County. The dates of the operation were February 11-14, 2019. Two days were spent in each county. This operation, titled “Operation Tarheel Gauntlet,” focused on traffic enforcement and criminal interdiction.
Seized during the operation were methamphetamine, marijuana, firearms, vehicles and United States currency. The operation made multiple arrests for a variety of charges and violations, to include trafficking methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and carrying concealed weapons.
The significant arrests stemming from this operation are as follows:
On Monday, February 11, 2019, deputies working southbound Interstate 85 stopped a burgundy 1999 Toyota Corolla with North Carolina registration for a routine traffic violation. The driver and registered owner of the vehicle was David Warren Sandford, Jr., age 32, a resident of High Point, North Carolina. The passenger was Montino Deshaun Dalton, age 28, a resident of Eden, North Carolina. When deputies approached the vehicle, they smelled the distinct odor of marijuana coming from the passenger compartment. A probable cause search was then conducted of the Corolla and deputies found a loaded .9-millimeter handgun in the center console and a bag containing approximately 700 grams of marijuana under the front passenger seat. The value of the marijuana seized was approximately $1,500.
Dalton was charged with possession of marijuana, possess with intent to sell/deliver marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Dalton was taken before a Rowan County Magistrate Judge and placed under a 25,000 dollars secured bond.
Sandford was charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to sell/deliver marijuana, maintaining a vehicle for keeping and selling controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia, and carrying a concealed weapon. Sandford was taken before a Rowan County Magistrate Judge and placed under a 25,000 dollars secured bond.
On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, deputies again working southbound Interstate 85 stopped a black Nissan Altima with Maryland registration for a routine traffic violation. The driver and registered owner of the Altima was Octavio Lizarraga Ayala, age 40, a resident of Baltimore, Maryland. During the course of the stop, Ayala consented to a search of the vehicle. Iredell County Deputies located approximately 2.2 pounds of suspected methamphetamine concealed in a bag on the front passenger seat of the Altima. Also seized was approximately 2,000 dollars in United States currency. The investigation showed Ayala was traveling from Maryland to the Metro Charlotte, North Carolina area. The value of the narcotics seized was approximately 100,000 dollars.
Ayala was charged with two counts of trafficking methamphetamine (Level III), possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a vehicle for keeping and selling controlled substances. Ayala was taken before a Rowan County Magistrate Judge and placed under a $520,000 secured bond. It has also been determined Ayala is in the United States illegally.
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