On Thursday April 8 at 12:52 a.m., Alamance County dispatch services received multiple calls about a shootout at 1051 Wyatt Rd, in a trailer park in Green Level.
Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said that when the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) arrived, Alonso Beltran Lara was found tied up with multiple gunshot wounds in his head, but still alive. Lara later died of his wounds at a local hospital. Barney Dale Harris was found in a bedroom wearing a bulletproof vest, face covering and gloves; he was pronounced dead on the scene.
Harris was a high school teacher and basketball coach from Monroe. His obituary said the circumstances of his death “has left friends, family and loved ones heart-broken as the news surrounding the death of Barney Dale Harris was announced.”
Sheriff Johnson said the trailer in which the shootout took place was a stash house for a Mexican drug cartel, and Harris was attempting to rob the house.
“What we feel happened is Barney Dale Harris got there earlier, and that has been found to be as a result of phone information,” Johnson said. “He arrived there about 20 minutes earlier and went into the mobile home and sat waited for Mr. Lara to come.”
When Lara arrived an “old Western shootout” ensued, as evident by the over 30 shell casings inside and outside the trailer.
On Sunday, the ACSO arrested Harris’ brother-in-law Steven Alexander Stewart Jr. of Wadesboro in connection with the crimes, charging Stewart with first-degree burglary and first-degree murder.
“We were able to identify a couple vehicles that led us to Mr. Stewart this past Sunday night, early Monday morning,” Johnson said. “A search of the home of Mr. Stewart was conducted in Wadesboro. Firearms and related objects that were tied to the crime were found in that particular location.
Juan Daniel Salinas Lara was charged with trafficking in cocaine.
Johnson noted that the ACSO held this information from the public for the safety of the families of those involved.
“When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartels, somebody is probably going to die as a result of this right here, somewhere else,” Johnson said. “We did not want to put it out there until we could get good grips on what we had going on.”
“We asked why is the cartels here in Alamance County and I wish I knew all the answers,” Johnson said. “But I can tell you Interstate 85, Interstate 40 corridor has really caused Alamance County to become a great place to deposit their drugs.”
Johnson said since February 19, drug money seized in Alamance County totals $2,292,890, with a total of 120.324 kilos of cocaine seized. The ACSO has taken $6,466,200 worth of cocaine off the streets.
“We've never seen that much cocaine at one time in this county,” Johnson said.
Johnson added that prior to February 19, the street value of a kilo of cocaine in Alamance County was around $50,000; today, a kilo is worth $38,000.
Johnson thanked the Anson County Sheriff’s Office and Wadesboro Police Department, the DEA and SBI for their assistance with the case.
The Mebane Enterprise will continue to update this story as more details emerge.