Out of sight: Criminals take to central North Carolina’s rural backroads to move drugs

(Photo: WNCN)

CARTHAGE, NC (WNCN) – North Carolina rural communities are appealing to those running illegal drug operations that make up a multi-billion dollar industry.

“Used to be it was a U.S. 1 or your main highways, but they don’t use the main highways as much anymore,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said. “They’re using some of your secondary roads and some of your N.C. highways. So yeah, it’s making it difficult for us.”

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Drug runners have moved off the highways and interstates like U.S. 1 and Interstate 95. Now they’re traversing roads with less heat.

Texas is the only state with more roads than North Carolina. There are about 80,000 miles of road, meaning just as many options for the drug distributors, runners, and dealers. Many of them are coming from Mexico, looking to leave behind brutal violence to live as quietly as possible to not draw any attention.

Out of sight, but still on the mind of Fields. He has seven narcotics detectives to cover a lot of territory. Drugs could be stored in any abandoned home, warehouse, or tobacco barn in the middle of nowhere.

“It’s causing a lot of problems for us, and not just in the manpower, but, you know, we’re human. And when we see deaths, our young people lying here dying from overdoses,” Fields said.

What’s killing them are the latest drugs of choice — mainly heroin and fentanyl. The cartels are smarter. They often launder their money through Asia and are known to use Bitcoin during the process. The drugs can go halfway around the world and back again to get to North Carolina.

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