A drug bust ended with police seizing nearly $90 million worth of liquid meth over the weekend.
Authorities arrested 49-year-old truck driver Raul Topete Arreola and 48-year-old Aquileo Perez Pineda after they were stopped by police near Linden, North Carolina. The stop and seizure of Arreola’s 2009 Peterbuilt semi-truck came after a months-long investigation by the local sheriff’s office uncovered traffickers using semi-trucks to ship large amounts of drugs across state lines.
Police stopped Arreola and Pineda near Linden where they searched the vehicle and found 120 gallons of liquid methamphetamine stowed away in the driver’s side fuel tank. According to authorities, that amount of liquid meth equates to nearly 454 kilograms of crystal meth. The street value for that amount of meth is $90.8 million.
The pair has been charged with three counts of drug trafficking and are currently being held on a $3 million bond with ICE looking into the immigration status of both individuals.
There’s been a resurgence in the production and distribution of meth in the state according to the National Drug Intelligence Center. While the opioid crisis that seems to be sweeping the country has also hit North Carolina hard, meth is the drug of choice in the more Western part of the state thanks to how easy it is to make or obtain, compared to prescription drugs and cocaine.
According to authorities, most of the meth on the street in the Western part of the state is smuggled in from larger cities with hubs like Atlanta being the biggest trafficking source. The drug has become even cheaper thanks to the rise in opioids and prescriptions drugs which seems to be a draw for people living in more rural, impoverished areas.
Still, 120 gallons of liquid meth is one of the biggest drug busts to make the news in North Carolina so far, and it points to a dangerous and growing trend in the state. Though meth is described as a cheaper and “purer” high, overdoses are all too common and addicts often become violent when in need of a fix. This puts their family, children, and the community at risk. While the state is ramping up efforts to crack down on drug trafficking, it’s all too easy for individuals to cook up the drug themselves, making policing meth a constant priority.