About 13 pounds of methamphetamine was recovered inside the spare tire of a vehicle parked outside a Huntington hotel on March 18, according to court documents. A source close to the investigation said that is the largest amount of meth recovered at one time in the Southern District of West Virginia.
About a week later, on Saturday, law enforcement officials in South Charleston pulled over two women whom they say were driving from Los Angeles. Nearly 6 pounds of meth was recovered in the stop, according to charging documents filed against the women.
In all, eight people have been charged in federal court in Charleston with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
The total street value of the meth seized in the two busts is close to $1 million, the source estimated.
Jose Alonso Morales, also known as “A,” Miguel Tafolla-Montoya, Miguel Alejandro Robles-Ibarra and Marcos Antonio Bojorquez-Rojas were charged last week by criminal complaints in federal court.
According to the complaints filed against the men, a person who had been receiving meth to sell from Morales started cooperating with law enforcement in January.
The informant allegedly said he or she would get the drug from Morales, or others working with him, and then distribute it in and around Kanawha County.
The informant helped police set up the bust in Huntington earlier this month, an FBI agent wrote in the complaints.
Morales allegedly told the informant that a female driver would be delivering 10 pounds of meth to Huntington on March 18. She would leave it in a blue Kia Sportage that was to be parked in a lot outside the Super 8 Motel on Hal Greer Boulevard, the complaints state.
Morales allegedly instructed the informant to exchange the spare tire in the Kia with another spare tire. The informant allegedly told Morales that they would send a friend to pick up the meth.
On March 18, an undercover law enforcement officer went to the Super 8, located the Kia and exchanged the tires. Inside the tire, the complaints state, the officer found 10 packages of meth hidden inside. It was determined to be about 13 pounds, the charging documents state.
A warrant for Morales’ arrest was issued. Meanwhile, he allegedly told the informant, who he thought had picked up the tire, that he would arrive in Huntington on the morning of March 19 to obtain payment.
The informant owed $125,000 to Morales for the meth, the complaints state.
Law enforcement arrested Morales at the Coach’s Inn, in Huntington, on March 19.
In separate criminal complaints filed Monday, an FBI agent wrote that law enforcement began working with another informant on March 19.
That informant allegedly told them that Rafael Garcia Serrato and Cesar Garcia “are involved in a large-scale drug distribution network, which has been distributing crystal methamphetamine and other drugs in the Southern District of West Virginia and elsewhere,” the federal filing states.
The informant has gotten drugs directly from Serrato and Garcia, he or she allegedly told law enforcement officials, and also has participated in the collection of drug proceeds with the men. Those proceeds would be split between the three of them, an affidavit written by an FBI agent states.
On March 20, the informant placed phone calls to Serrato to arrange for him to send drugs from Los Angeles to Charleston — about 10 pounds of methamphetamine and two kilograms of heroin, the federal filing states.
Serrato allegedly indicated that Garcia would arrange the details of a delivery of meth and heroin to West Virginia.
Garcia told the informant that two women would drive the drugs from California to Charleston, and that he would fly from Los Angeles to Huntington on March 25 to collect the proceeds, the filing states.
Danielle Dessaray Estrada and Rachel Arlene Garay, who allegedly had told the informant they would arrive in Charleston on Saturday evening, were pulled over by police in South Charleston on Saturday.
The women were placed under arrest and five large packages containing nearly 6 pounds of meth were found in their car, charging documents against them state.
Law enforcement then located Garcia in a hotel in Huntington and arrested him.
On Monday, Serrato, who is Garcia’s father, was arrested in Los Angeles.