by: Dave Faherty Updated:
After going through a charred out mobile home in Alexander County, firefighters uncovered more than $100,000 worth of drugs.
Investigators think the men who were living inside may be connected to a Mexican drug cartel.
"We come in here and found the poker table and the money-counting machine,” said Vashti Fire Chief Steven Carson.
Carson showed us what's left of the home north of Taylorsville. Not only did they find cash but also a large amount of drugs in this bedroom. Sheriff’s deputies said they recovered 26 pounds of pot, cocaine and meth from the mobile home.
Deputies believe the home was a stash house for drugs originating in Mexico. Investigators said the fire started near the fireplace and then burned out of control.
They believe the flames were so intense the renters had to take off without time to take the drugs.
"They were trying to stay warm with the fireplace and in reality it brought down the heat on them,” said Deputy Chief Tod Jones with Alexander County Sheriff’s Office.
The mobile home is in a rural part of the county. There are few neighbors nearby and a Channel 9 reporter said he hasn’t seen too many people today driving down the road.
Even the home's owner was fooled by the men renting from him. Homeowner Jerry Wike said the men said they worked somewhere near Winston.
Deputies believe the men have left the area, possibly en route to Mexico. The drugs are valued in excess of $100,000. Much of the home was destroyed by the fire but it was what was found inside that the fire chief will remember.
"It is a very quiet, close-knit community. Just a real shock to find that much out here,” Carson said.