ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- A deadly shooting in Green Level Sunday is shedding light on a bigger problem in the Piedmont.
"Nobody wanted to admit that we had a drug problem here until it hit home. Now, it has grown so big that it’s unbelievable in our county," said Sheriff Terry Johnson.
Investigators say the Sinaloa Cartel is behind the murder. Johnson says the cartel is based in Colombia with drug trades through Mexico.
Over the years, they've left a trail of drugs, money and homicides in Alamance County, which is why the area has been classified by the federal government as one of the 28 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas in the country.
"Alamance County is a drop off point for narcotics simply because of its geographical location in the southeast, and its interstate routes as well as secondary routes," said Johnson.
It doesn't help that there is a smaller law enforcement presence compared to bigger counties. That's why officials say the cartel hides huge amounts of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine in stash houses around Alamance County and then transports it to the Northeast and Midwest.
In the past few years, the DEA seized millions of dollars of drugs and convicted nearly 100 traffickers in the area.
However, Sheriff Johnson says they've just scratched the surface.
"I don’t care what anybody says. We have got to take care of the problem," said Johnson.
He says more man power is not an option, so he'll be using the resources he has to focus on problem areas in the county.
"We’re going to be running some people out of this county. If they want to deal dope, they’re going to have to deal it someplace else," said Johnson.