Weaverville — Around 9:30 p.m. Jan. 5, a home at 17 Twin Ridge Drive was surrounded by emergency vehicles, including firetrucks, an ambulance, a hazmat truck, bomb squad and more.
A federal search warrant application filed by a Department of Homeland Security (HSI) agent, states law enforcement was looking for drugs at the address, specifically Fentanyl, shipped from China. fentanyl is a synthetic opioid-type drug similar to morphine. Fentanyl, according to information from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, is described as a narcotic analgesic and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Read more...
Betty Dunajski is listed as the property owner at 17 Twin Ridge Drive, according to Buncombe County property records. Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office reports and federal records led the Tribune investigation to the arrest record of Mark Paul Dunajski, 33, taken into custody Jan. 5 around 2:35 p.m. and held at the Buncombe County Detention Center without bond. Records from the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department show Dunajski was held for “housing only/federal inmate.” Court records state Dunajski has been charged with illegal importation of controlled substances.
The relationship, if any, between Betty Dunajski and Mark Dunajski is unclear.
A federal search warrant filed by a HSI agent out of Hendersonville list property at 17 Twin Ridge Road, Weaverville as the “target location” of the search. The warrant was signed by Judge Dennis Howell. Items seized during the search include: one bag of white powder, one computer tower, one white notebook, one brown wallet with misc. documents, one white Samsung tablet and one flip phone style cellphone with charger.
According to the Jan. 3 application for the search warrant, HSI agent Jason Allen, “was contacted by the Custom and Border Protection Officers at the Louisville, Kentucky, UPS International Mail Facility,” in regards to a package seized Dec.23. The application goes on to state, “approximately 1.05 kilograms of a substance that field tested positive for Fentanyl,” was discovered.
Additionally, the application states, “...pursuant to this investigation, HSI has determined that there have been two previous packages with a similar description shipped from China to the target location without being detected by law enforcement.”
“Agents and officers replaced the Fentanyl with an imitation substance referred to as ‘sham Fentanyl’ and placed the ‘sham Fentanyl’ inside a box resembling the target package for purposes of conducting a controlled delivery of the sham Fentanyl,” states the application. The package was, then, sent on to its destination at 17 Twin Ridge Road.
The only name listed in the application as a target of the investigation is Mark DeGreeo. It’s possible “Mark DeGreeo,” is an alias for Mark Dunajski. No further information has been released and calls and emails by the Tribune to the Department of Homeland Security have not been returned.
The mission of the Department of Homeland Security, according to the department’s website, states, “The vision of homeland security is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards.” The scope of this mission is broad and can encompass a wide variety of criminal activities including: cybersecurity, border security, terrorism, economic security, human trafficking, immigration enforcement, transportation security, to name a few.
“The Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) provides law enforcement officials at every level of government with a means to collaborate securely with partners across geographic and jurisdictional boundaries,” states information from the department’s website. The description continues, “For example, law enforcement organizations commonly use HSIN during operations focused on weapons smuggling, narcotics trafficking and gang mitigation.”
A representative from the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, Natalie Bailey, said the sheriff’s office was unable to confirm or deny any facts related to the case, but did provide an overview of the relationship between the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office and agencies like Homeland Security.
“We won’t speculate as to what the operation Homeland Security was involved in today,” Bailey responded Jan. 6, “but, the Sheriff’s Office works with a number of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to keep the residents of Buncombe County safe. In instances, where our federal partners are working in Buncombe County, the sheriff’s office is always notified as a courtesy.”
Last weeks headlines
Weaverville couple wins jackpot
By Heather Berry
Weaverville – Norman and Beverly Rogers, of Weaverville, had a very nice Christmas holiday. The Rogers purchased one of two winning Cash 5 Jackpot tickets at the North Main Street Handy Mart. “We still can’t believe it, all with a $1 ticket,” Beverly said. The $1 ticket was good for half of the $435,216 pot. Read more...
“I’ve been playing it (the lottery) for over 40 years,” said Norman, who has won only small amounts in the past. “Naturally, it’s pretty exciting. Any time you win anything with the lottery, it’s just luck,” he added. “We’re very thankful,” he said.
The couple, married for 22 years, won $217,608. Norman has worked as a welder with Thermo Fisher for 30 years. Beverly recently retired from Thermo Fisher, after 24 years. The couple has two grown children.
Rogers beat the odds of 1 out of 749,398, matching all five numbers in the Dec. 21 drawing. Handy Mart owner Sunny Patel said the ticket was the first big lottery win for his store. Patel said the Rogers come into the store frequently and have been to the store since the win. “They are happy,” Patel said.
At first, the Rogers weren’t certain they had won. “We didn’t tell anyone, because we weren’t sure, not even our two daughters,” said Beverly. “The lottery headquarters was closed over Christmas,” added Norman, “so we couldn’t find out any information.”
Still, the couple admitted to enjoying the “little” secret they held. “We had fun with it,” said Norman. They treated the trip to lottery headquarters in Raleigh as a sort of vacation. The trip coincided with Beverly’s birthday. “We aren’t really travelers, so it was fun going down there and leaving early in the morning,” Beverly said. “It was exciting and a little scary,” she added. “But, it was a real treat.”
Sadly, the taxman cometh. The Rogers said the amount subtracted for taxes was sobering. More than $66,000 was taken from the winnings, and they expect to pay another large sum after claiming as income.
The second winning Cash 5 ticket was sold in Southport. For details on how lottery funds are used in Buncombe County, click on the “For Education” section of the lottery’s website at: nclottery.com
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