Suspect arrested in fatal shootout between Mexican drug cartel, NC teacher

North Carolina news

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. (WJZY) – An arrest has been made in the drug cartel shootout that claimed the life of a Union County teacher and basketball coach who was living a double life, Alamance County deputies said on Monday.

A suspect that authorities say they had been looking for, Winston Salem resident Gar-Yon-Ded-Weh Stepney, 41, was arrested on Monday with the assistance of the US Marshals Office. Stepney has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond. More charges are possible.

At about 12:52 a.m. on April 8, 2021, the sheriff’s office responded to multiple calls regarding gunshots at a mobile home park on Wyatt Road in Green Level. The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office described the home as a stash house and said that Barney Harris of Union County and a group of others had gone to the home to commit a robbery.

Harris was found in the bedroom and had been shot multiple times. He was wearing a vest, gloves, and a face covering.

Harris had been teaching Spanish at Union Academy in Monroe for four years, was a freshman advisor, and was also the head varsity basketball and track and field coach, according to the school website.

Alonzo Beltran Lara, 18, was found with two gunshot wounds to the back of the head in what deputies said appeared to be an execution-style killing.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson described the scene as an old Western shootout and said Lara was allegedly a drug runner who lived in the trailer with one other person. Johnson described the two parties involved in the shootout. “One belonging to the Sinaloa New Generation cartel that the trailer was a stash house,” Johnson said. “The other being the criminal enterprise robbing the stash house.”

The sheriff’s office said Harris had entered the mobile home while no one was there and waited for Lara to arrive.

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