CHURCH HILL - Authorities hit the jackpot Tuesday evening when they raided a home and found drugs, along with their largest drug cash seizure in the history of the Church Hill Police Department (CHPD) department.
A year ago, officers with CHPD, along with Hawkins County Sheriff's Office (HCSO), the Third Judicial District Drug Task Force, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began an effort to find individuals trafficking drugs from Sunny Hills Mobile Home Park in Church Hill. The raid last night took place at Lot 10 in the park.
According to CHPD Chief Mark Johnson, once inside the residence, authorities found and seized one and a half ounces of cocaine packed to resale, as well as digital scales, packaging materials, drug transaction ledgers, electronics that authorities believes were purchased with drug money, two vehicles and over $14,000 dollars in cash. A husband and wife, Juan Vazquez Ortega, 29 and Maria Del Carmen Nava Soco, 34, were arreted and charged with possession of a schedule II narcotic (Cocaine) with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, and maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are stored, used and sold.
Officers also contacted Child Protective Services to care for juveniles found inside the home.
"During the execution of the search warrant, a 17-year-old Hispanic man (son of the adults above) became unruly and threatened Church Hill officer Nate Simpson by stating he would seek retaliation on the police," according to Mark Johnson. After a direct threat to Simpson, the male juvenile was charged with disorderly conduct and assault on a police officer and was detained at the Johnson City Detention Center.
According to Johnson, this was an example of everything going just as authorities train.
"This is a best-case scenario of cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies," Johnson said. "As mentioned, yesterday's arrests and seizures are the result of a long, hard year of work on the part of many officers and agents."
Johnson also added that if the confiscated money is awarded to CHPD, it will go towards providing more drug enforcement training to the officers in hopes of ensuring that Church Hill remains a place where people want to live and raise families.
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