Two arrested in connection with drug operation

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — Federal court documents describe an investigation into a substantial illegal drug operation that led to the arrest of two Hillsville men April 14.

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office recently reported that Rigoberto Ruiz-Ruvalcaba of 328 Saddle Up Trail and Stacey Harold Bullion of 63 Lewis Lane face federal charges of distribution of methamphetamine.

These charges cap off a two-year investigation by the Twin County Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

According to Roanoke U.S. District Court records, DEA special agents sought search warrants on the homes of these two men as early as April 2, 2009.

In doing so, investigators indicated they believed a large-scale illegal drug supplier operated out of Hillsville.

An unnamed source identified Ruiz-Ruvalcaba as a supplier of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine as early as 2006, according to court records.

The source told the federal authorities that "he/she has observed Ruiz-Ruvalcaba in possession of 300 to 400 pounds of marijuana and 10 to 15 pounds of methamphetamine at this residence," it said.

From late 2004 to mid-2005, Ruiz-Ruvalcaba had sold one pound of meth to this source a week, the document went on to say.

Investigators found a second confidential source who named Ruiz-Ruvalcaba "as a multi-pound source of supply of methamphetamine," who "would frequently travel to Chicago and Texas to pick up either drugs and/or United States currency derived from drug trafficking proceeds," according to the court records.

A criminal history check on Ruiz-Ruvalcaba revealed to authorities that he had been arrested in 2004 on a charge of possession with intent to distribute roughly 154 pounds of marijuana in Laredo, Texas, the warrant said.

Law enforcement officials made a purchase of meth from Bullion at his trailer in October 2008, the document says.

"Surveillance units heard, via an electronic monitoring device, that Bullion was going to leave 61 Lewis Lane, Hillsville, Va., and pick up a quantity of methamphetamine," it reports.

Law enforcement officials then observed Bullion's Dodge pickup going to 328 Saddle Up Trail, about a third of a mile away from Bullion's home.

After that, Bullion returned home and the police's plant bought meth from him, the investigator writes.

Investigators also monitored phone calls from Bullion to Ruiz-Ruvalcaba's landline phone in December 2008 after setting up another drug purchase from Bullion, according to the search warrant. The calls were allegedly about lining up quantities of the drugs to sell.

Law enforcement officials took substances obtained through their drug buys from Bullion to either the DEA Mid-Atlantic Laboratory or the Virginia state forensics laboratory. "The lab analysis resulted in a positive test for the presence of methamphetamine in all drug exhibits," the warrant said.

Bullion had described his drug supplier to the confidential informant as "a Hispanic male that worked in the pine tree cutting/pruning business," the document said. The DEA agent knew that description fit Ruiz-Ruvalcaba.

Agents believe that Bullion and Ruiz-Ruvalcaba had been working together since October 2008.

A federal grand jury charged both Ruiz-Ruvalcaba and Bullion in a six-count indictment issued March 25.

It charges that Ruiz-Ruvalcaba and Bullion conspired with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, a schedule II drug.

Four counts name Bullion on distribution of meth charges and one names Ruiz-Ruvalcaba.

The indictment also states that investigators seized under forfeiture a 4.96-acre tract at 328 Saddle Up Trail.

Bond for Bullion was set April 14 at $25,000, according to the court.