McDowell Co. deputies: 3 arrested, 5 more sought in massive drug - FOX Carolina 21

McDowell Co. deputies: 3 arrested, 5 more sought in massive drug operation

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Ray Welch, Anthony Burgess, James Burgess (order not known) (Source: MCSO) Ray Welch, Anthony Burgess, James Burgess (order not known) (Source: MCSO)
MARION, NC (FOX Carolina) -

McDowell County deputies said Thursday that three mid-level drug dealers were arrested in a roundup operation that began one week earlier and five more were being sought.

Deputies said Ray Jackson Welch Jr., 55, of 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 traffick methamphetamine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise. He is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Anthony Jarrett Burgess, 29, of South Sterling Street in Morganton, and James Qualane Burgess, 26, of 303 Roper St. in Morganton, turned themselves in to authorities in Burke County Sunday, deputies said. Each man was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise. They are both being held on $30,000 bonds.

Deputies said the investigation began last summer at the home of 36-year-old Jamie Leonard Tate. They soon learned that Tate and 35-year-old Dwayne Bullock, of Newton, conspired with numerous other people to traffic and distribute hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine and marijuana, and smaller er amounts of cocaine and heroin in the area.
Deputies said they began conducting raids on April 18 in McDowell, Burke and Catawba counties, at locations believed to be used for storing and distributing drugs.
Seven suspects were arrested on April 18 and another was captured in Maryland in May. Deputies said two of the major players in the conspiracy remain at large but multiple mid-level players were arrested in June.

Deputies said the following suspects are still on the run:

  • Dwayne Bullock, 35, of 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.
  • Kelsey L. England, 37, of Julia Court in Claremont, on charges of conspiracy to traffick marijuana, conspiracy to traffick cocaine and aiding and abetting continuing a criminal enterprise.
  • Evan Saunders Lipford, 40, of 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.
  • William Jackie Pearson, 66, of 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.
  • Oakley Lynn Sparks, 35, of 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 828-652-2235, the McDowell County 911 communications center at 828-652-4000 or McDowell County Crime Stoppers at 828-65-CRIME (652-7463).

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