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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Man charged with sale of cocaine, more

February 22nd, 2012 10:55 pm by John Thompson

ELIZABETHTON — A Johnson City man was arraigned in Carter County Sessions Court on Tuesday on six counts of sale of cocaine and other charges.
The charges are the result of an undercover operation by the 1st Judicial District Drug Task Force in late January and February.
Armando “Mario” Becerra, 50, 143 Blaine Ave., Johnson City, was also charged with four counts of criminal conspiracy to distribute schedule II drugs, possession of schedule II drugs for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The DTF agents reported they made six purchases of cocaine with Becerra between Jan. 24 and Feb. 15.
Agents said they made a phone call to Becerra on Jan. 24 and made arrangements to purchase a half ounce of cocaine. The arrangements were to meet at a predetermined location inside Carter County. Becerra said he was sending his nephew, “TJ,” to meet them. At the appointed time, a man showed up and the transaction was made. The purchased substance tested positive for cocaine.
The agents said a similar phone call was made the next day and once again Becerra arranged for “TJ” to meet them at a predetermined location and sell them an ounce of cocaine. Once again, it tested positive for cocaine.
The agents said they made a third phone call to Becerra on Jan. 30 to purchase a half ounce of cocaine. Becerra was already at the location and sent another man who introduced himself as “Lamar” to make the transaction, which once again tested positive for cocaine.
On Feb. 2, the agents said the fourth transaction was made. This time they said Becerra was seen in a white Mustang. “Lamar” appeared in a white Pontiac. This time, the confidential informant was fitted with an electronic listening device. A purchase of an ounce of cocaine was made.
A fifth purchase was made Feb. 5. The agents said this time the informant met directly with Becerra and purchased an ounce.
The final purchase was Feb. 15 at Becerra’s residence. This time five ounces were purchased. Becerra was then seen leaving his residence and he was stopped a short time later by Johnson City police. Becerra was taken into custody and marked DTF money used to make the purchase was found in his possession.
Becerra’s residence was searched and agents reported finding three small bags of cocaine inside a cigarette package. Agents also located loose powder in a plate in the kitchen along with digital scales with white powdery residue on them. Two pistols were found under a couch cushion.
On Tuesday Judge John Walton set Becerra’s bond at $50,000. His next court appearance is set for April 16.

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