Marion man netted in drug sting

Benjamin David Raymer

A Marion man was charged in a drug sting in Mitchell County in August, the Mitchell News-Journal reported.

Benjamin David Raymer, 34, of 190 Lightning Ridge Drive, Marion, was charged with selling and delivering a Schedule III controlled substance, possession with intent to sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance, selling within 1,000 feet of a day care and maintaining a vehicle for controlled substance. He was taken into custody in lieu of a $120,000 secured bond.

He and 19 other individuals, mostly from Mitchell County, were being investigated for more than seven months by undercover police officers, according to the Mitchell News-Journal. Officers made 20 arrests on 121 felony charges and 30 misdemeanor charges, the article states.

An investigation began after complaints were made about drug activity in the parking lot of a fitness center located at the Cross Street Commerce Center in Spruce Pine and near the Jack and Jill Day Care Center. During the investigation, undercover officers were able to purchase marijuana, prescription drugs, illegal steroids and methamphetamine.

The investigation, called Operation Blue Thunder, was a joint effort between the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Spruce Pine and Bakersville Police Departments.