Jul 13, 2016 1:29 PM
MANCHESTER - The Queen City has become the site of the largest methamphetamine drug bust in the state’s history.
Police say they seized 16.5 pounds of meth from a sports bar and its operator. That looks about the same as three-or-so five-pound bags of sugar that you could buy at Market Basket.
Officials said the 16.5 pounds of meth is worth almost $500,000 at street value.
The bar on Wilson Street - El Patron - looks like a typical bar on the outside, but members of the DEA reported it’s the site of the largest-ever bust in New Hampshire and record-setting in New England.
“Its ridiculous man, I just thought that was some crappy bar,” said Jesse Rosmus who works near the bar. “I would just never think that any kind of drug thing would be going on there.”
Rosmus and his friend Adam Wheeler were surprised to learn what was going on at El Patron.
“We walk past it every day on our way to work,” said Wheeler.
Police say the bar’s owner, Mexican citizen Rigoberto Ramirez Aldava, was getting meth from Mexico and selling it at his Manchester bar.
Undercover agents say they tapped his phone lines and met up with Ramirez Aldava and bought drugs from him twice before arresting on July 11. Ramirez Aldava was pulled over when he was heading to sell undercover agents 10 pounds of meth for $85,000.
“I didn’t even know meth was out here - I had no idea,” said Joseph Haskett, who lives on Wilson Street.
The bar is in a neighborhood full of kids - and just three blocks from an elementary school. Neighbors said they were shocked, but others who had been inside the bar weren't as surprised.
“They just didn’t have any bartenders in there, no one knew how to make a drink it was just odd,” said Haskett.
Police also raided Ramirez Aldava’s apartment on the West Side where they found $6,000 in marked bills. His home was in another family oriented neighborhood that some say Ramirez Aldava used for cover.
“That’s why we moved into this area because it’s kid friendly here," said Renatto Mackenzie, who was out playing with his 1-year-old son. "For someone to take that opportunity in this area is like you know a big ‘no-no.’”
Ramirez Aldava was arrested and arraigned earlier this week. He is detained and awaiting trial.
The DEA said they are still attempting to track down others that may have helped Ramirez Aldava smuggle and sell the drugs from Mexico.
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