by: Jenna Deery Updated:
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - On Tuesday, the Gaston County Police Department Special Investigations Unit charged four people following a drug conspiracy investigation that began in Nov. 2013.
Three of them were arrested at work Tuesday at Smokey's Barbeque on Lower Dallas Highway in Dallas.
Restaurant owner Donnie Wooten held his head down while restaurant cook Michael Huffman and employee Tausha Mixon looked at Channel 9’s cameras when they faced a magistrate Tuesday night. They are facing dozens of drug-related charges.
Police are looking for a fourth person, Jessica Plummer, in connection to this investigation.
They believe she may be out of state.
Smokey's is a carry-out only restaurant and it advertises curb-side service for customers who have placed orders. But undercover officers said they learned it wasn't just food the restaurant was selling.
Police started doing undercover buys back in November. Channel 9 obtained court records documenting seven buys starting on Dec. 5 to Jan. 23.
Investigators said they bought more than 30 pounds of marijuana at the restaurant, worth about $137,000.
The restaurant is right across the street from a church day care center.
Some teachers were angry when they learned about the investigation involving marijuana being manufactured and sold just yards away from children.
"They have no right doing this, for the children's sake or theirs," said teacher Tiffany Kline.
Kline said she always felt something strange was going on at Smokey's Barbeque. She said she never went there because she felt suspicious about the clientele.
"When I did see cars there, it was mainly teenagers running around the place, not really adults," said Kline.