Tip leads to county’s largest crystal meth seizure

By DEUCE NIVEN

     Nov. 15 UPDATE: A second Moore County man was arrested late Wednesday in what investigators believe to be a multi-state crystal methamphetamine operation that had already netted suspects from Cumberland and Columbus County, Lt. Steven Worthington of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
    Jose Dajesus Sandoval, 34, of Littlefield Lane, Robbins, was arrested by Moore County Sheriff’s Office detectives and charged with trafficking methamphetamine, Worthington said. Sandoval was held at the Moore County Jail under a $400,000 bond.
    Sandoval was living in the same home as Benjume Rodriguez, 36, who was arrested on the same charge Tuesday and held at the Columbus County Detention Center in Whiteville.
    Also charged Tuesday were Johnny Andreas Savva, Jr., 35, of Sand Hills Dr., Fayetteville; and Samuel Olivares, 18, of Concourse Drive, Houston, Tex.
    Savva was trailed by Columbus County detectives from Fayetteville to Columbus County Tuesday night, and arrested after a traffic stop in Whiteville. Police seized about two kilograms of crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $200,000.
    Interviews with Savva led detectives back to Fayetteville, where Olivares was arrested, and that led investigators to Moore County, where Rodriguez was taken into custody.
    Sandoval, Olivares and Rodriguez are Mexican nationals, where investigators believe the methamphetamine seized Tuesday may have originated. Savva is originally from West Virginia, Worthington said.
    Sandovol’s arrest came as investigators continued their work, focusing on Moore County on Wednesday, Worthington said. That work continues, with investigators from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, and the SBI were working with Columbus County detectives.
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    Nov. 14 post:

    Crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $200,000, seized in Whiteville Tuesday, prompted additional arrests in Cumberland and Moore counties, and may lead to more, Lt. Steven Worthington of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday.
    Sheriff Chris Batten called it the largest crystal methamphetamine seizure in the county’s history.
    Charged with trafficking methamphetamine were Johnny Andreas Savva, Jr., 35, of Sand Hills Dr., Fayetteville; Benjume Rodriguez, 36, of Littlefield Lane, Robbins; and Samuel Olivares, 18, of Concourse Drive, Houston, Tex.
    All three were jailed at the Columbus County Detention Center, Savva and Olivares under bonds of $500,000, Rodriguez with bail set at $200,000.

Mexican connection
    An informants’ tip led detectives to Fayetteville Tuesday, where a Savva was driving a vehicle bound for Columbus County, Worthington said. Detectives stopped the vehicle in Whiteville, arrested Savva, and seized two kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, Worthington said.
    Interviews with Savva led detectives back to Fayetteville, where Olivares was arrested, and that led investigators to Moore County, where Rodriguez was taken into custody.
    Both Olivares and Rodriguez are Mexican nationals, Worthington said, and investigators believe the methamphetamine seized Tuesday originated in that country.
    Savva is originally from West Virginia, Worthington said.
    Investigators are still trying to get a handle on the scope of the methamphetamine operation, Worthington said, but were back in Moore County Wednesday following leads.
    “We don’t have anything concrete, but we feel like it was multi-state,” Worthington said.
    Investigators from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, and the SBI were working with Columbus County detectives on the case, Worthington said.

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