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Deputies: Major meth distributor behind bars





Staff Writer


Narcotics investigators are confident the arrest of an alleged Lincolnton drug dealer this week will drastically decrease the amount of methamphetamine being trafficked throughout western Lincoln County and parts of Catawba County.

With the help of both the Lincoln County Sheriff’s SWAT team and federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security, drug officers took 36-year-old Benny Ray Garrett, Jr., into custody.

The arrest took place without incident around 6:30 a.m. at 806 South Laurel Street and served as the culmination of a two-month long investigation, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Over the last several weeks, undercover officers said they carried out multiple transactions with Garrett, seizing more than a quarter pound of meth and other controlled substances.

According to an agency press release, narcotics investigators believe the suspect has ties to a meth supplier in South Carolina, allowing him to pump heavy amounts of the drug to area dealers in Vale and southwestern Catawba County throughout the last few years.

According to Lt. Jason Reid, head of the Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit, federal agents’ assistance with the investigation allowed the local law enforcement agency to disrupt the drug chain near the top.

“We were able to cut the head off the snake this time,” he said in the release.

“During most drug investigations, we have to start at the very bottom and attempt to work our way to the top.”

His department believed Garrett’s arrest not only demonstrated the consequences of street-level drug activity inside Lincoln County lines but also severely crippled the system criminals have employed to smuggle illegal substances into the area.

“Hopefully, the investigation will interrupt the flow of methamphetamine,” Reid said.

The Sheriff’s Office has been working with Homeland Security since the end of 2010, when Sheriff David Carpenter took office.

Deputies said the relationship has been one of several useful connections the Sheriff’s Office has formed over the years with agencies at the federal and state levels, allowing narcotics officers to concentrate on illegal deals both inside the county and across its borders.

Garrett has been charged with trafficking methamphetamine and remains in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $300,000 secured bond.

The accused drug supplier is no stranger to the criminal justice system, having spent more than eight years in prison for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

A Gaston County judge convicted Garrett of the felony offense in 2000, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction website.

Additional crimes on his record include resisting an officer, larceny and damage to property.

Garrett is due in district court today for his first appearance in the case.



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