The McDowell County Sherriff's Department continues the massive drug conspiracy roundup that began June 15th. Three more mid-level drug dealers are now in custody.
Ray Jackson Welch Jr., age 55, of 964 Stacy Hill Road in Marion, turned himself in to authorities Tuesday and was charged with two counts of trafficking methamphetamine and one count each of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise. He is in the McDowell County jail under a $250,000 bond.
Anthony Jarrett Burgess, age 29, of 1517 South Sterling St. in Morganton, and James Qualane Burgess, age 26, of 303 Roper St. in Morganton, turned themselves in to authorities in Burke County Sunday and each received a $30,000 bond. They are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise.
The investigation into this drug conspiracy began last summer with a probe of activity at the 100 Stacy Farm Road residence of 36-year-old Jamie Leonard Tate. It was determined that Tate and 35-year-old Dwayne Bullock, of Newton, conspired with numerous people to traffic and distribute hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as lesser amounts of cocaine and heroin.
On April 18, authorities began rounding up the main suspects in the conspiracy, raiding areas simultaneously in McDowell, Burke and Catawba counties, locations believed to be used for storing and distributing narcotics. Seven were apprehended that day, and another was captured in Maryland last month. Two of the major players in the conspiracy remain at large. Four mid-level dealers were arrested last Thursday, June 15 and six more of them were on the run, including Welch and Anthony and James Burgess. Authorities said all 10 conspired with Tate and Bullock to distribute methamphetamine in McDowell and Burke counties.
Still wanted are the following:
n Dwayne Bullock, 35, of 100 17th St. West in Newton, on six counts of conspiracy to traffic heroin, three counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count of continuing a criminal enterprise.
n Kelsey L. England, 37, of 3392 Julia Court in Claremont, on charges of conspiracy to traffick marijuana, conspiracy to traffick cocaine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise.
n Evan Saunders Lipford, 40, of 514 Rocky Ford St. in Morganton, on three charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine and one charge of aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise.
n William Jackie Pearson, 66, of 129 Stephens Drive in Morganton, on three counts of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and one count each of conspiracy to manufacture a Schedule II controlled substance and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise.
n Oakley Lynn Sparks, 35, of 710 7th C St. in Marion, on charges of conspiracy to traffick marijuana, conspiracy to traffick cocaine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise.
Anyone with information concerning the whereabouts of Bullock, England, Lipford, Pearson or Sparks is asked to call the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office at 652-2235, the McDowell County 911 communications center at 652-4000 or McDowell County Crime Stoppers at 65-CRIME (652-7463). Now, you can also text your tips to Crime Stoppers. Text MCDOWELLTIPS and your information to 274637 (CRIMES). With Crime Stoppers, your identity remains anonymous, and you could receive a cash reward.