MOUNT OLIVE ---- One of the largest heroin seizures in Wayne County history unfolded Monday when approximately 5 kilograms ---- 10 pounds of heroin ---- were recovered inside a home in Mount Olive.
Sheriff Larry Pierce estimated the street value of the approximately 250,000 individual doses of "pure" heroin at $7 million.
A link to drug trafficking cartels operating across the Mexico--U.S. border is being investigated.
"I don't know exactly how much I can say about this particular shipment, but we do have a connection with the opioids coming out of Mexico that we are investigating," Pierce said.
The sheriff declined to elaborate as to how authorities knew the heroin was inside the residence, but when his deputies and agents from the Raleigh Drug Enforcement Administration Office executed a search warrant at 4592 Emmaus Church Road Monday, they found what they were looking for. And who.
Gabriel Mancilla Ribera, 46, of 294 Coy Smith Road, Albertson, is charged with one count of third-level heroin trafficking. He is currently being held in the Wayne County Detention Center under a $1.5 million bond.
Pierce added that he hoped this seizure of heroin would help curb the opioid crisis and large amount of overdoses seen recently in the county.
"I don't think we can link this particular heroin to any cases of overdoses, however, I hope this will make a dent in some of the opioid problem that we have in Wayne County" Pierce said. "The size of this seizure is paramount compared to other seizures we've made, and so I hope it will put a dent in some of the problems we're having with this opioid addiction and overdoses we're having."
In another large-scale drug raid in the Mount Olive area on Aug. 25, four men -- three of them from Texas -- were charged after authorities found 1.5 kilos of cocaine in a house at 713 Maysville School Road.
The DEA aided in that investigation, too.
Pierce said he could not comment on whether or not the two drug raids were connected.