Meth trafficking ring bust leads task force to Quicksburg

A law enforcement operation has linked a Quicksburg residence to a Mexican methamphetamine ring, authorities said in a statement Thursday.

Law enforcement officials with the multi-jurisdictional Skyline Drug Task Force arrested Marcos Maldonado-Payan, also known as “Cebollas Sanchez,” at 3:15 p.m. on Sept. 21 at a Knights Inn in Verona after their undercover operation led them to the discovery of the methamphetamine trafficking ring. Maldonado-Payan, who is in his early 40s, was arrested without incident.

According to the search warrant obtained in the case, a tracking device was placed on Maldonado-Payan’s vehicle and tracked him to 950 Pinewoods Road in Quicksburg. Law enforcement officials describe it as a residential bunkhouse on a local farm. He was there for 45 minutes to an hour before traveling to the Knights Inn, stopping at a Mexican restaurant in Elkton on the way, the search warrant states. Maldonado-Payan was not carrying objects during his visit to the restaurant, the search warrant notes.

Maldonado-Payan was carrying “two shoe boxes and a Wal-Mart bag” when he went to the motel room from his vehicle, the search warrant says. The warrant executed on the Verona motel room and his car led to the discovery of 14 ounces of methamphetamine, which, according to law enforcement officials, has an estimated street value of $40,000.

Investigators arrived at the Quicksburg residential bunkhouse to execute the search warrant at around 7:30 p.m., the news release states. They found multiple people living and working there on U.S. agricultural visas. Several suspects fled into the surrounding cornfields and woods when law enforcement arrived, and the Virginia National Guard Counter-Drug unit was able to find them with a rotary-wing aircraft, the statement reads.

A total of 49 people were detained when law enforcement officials searched the residence, the release states, and eight ounces of methamphetamine with a street value of about $20,000 were seized. The drugs were sent to a forensic lab for further analysis, and charges against two suspects at the residence are pending.

Maldonado-Payan’s home on North Delphine Avenue in Waynesboro was searched with a third warrant, the release states.  Law enforcement recovered more methamphetamine along with crack cocaine, cell phones, another vehicle belonging to Maldonado-Payan, and a 1911A1 .45 ACP pistol. According to the statement, two women were found at the residence with several grams of crack cocaine in their possession, and charges are pending against both while the drugs are being analyzed at the lab.

Law enforcement members with the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, Virginia State Police Division III Tactical Team, Jefferson Area Drug Task Force and agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency  aided in the operation against the trafficking ring.

There are five felony gun and drug charges against Maldonado-Payan has been charged with five felony gun and drug charges in Waynesboro, Augusta County and Albemarle County. The charges include methamphetamine possession and possession with intent to distribute, methamphetamine distribution, possession of a firearm while in possession of narcotics and being in possession of a firearm while illegally residing in the U.S.

Maldonado-Payan is being held without bond in Middle River Regional Jail.

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