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A high school basketball coach in Union County, North Carolina was killed in a shootout with a Mexican drug cartel last week, according to Alamance County Sheriffs.

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office responded to Wyatt Road near Burlington, NC on April 8, just before 1 AM, regarding gunshots heard in the area.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they identified evidence of a shooting and located two individuals suffering from gunshot wounds inside the home. Union County High School basketball coach Barney Harris was pronounced dead at the scene. Another man was transported to a local hospital but later passed away from his injuries.

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Alamance County Sheriff’s Office detectives determined the two men were a part of separate criminal enterprises. Investigators believe Harris and a team of people were at the home to steal illegal narcotics and money from the Sinaloa cartel. At some point, deputies said a shootout occurred resulting in the deaths of Harris and Alonso Lara, a drug runner for the cartel. Harris wore a bulletproof vest but the vest didn’t protect him from the ammunition rounds used in the shootout.

“I can tell you this right now. When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartel, somebody’s probably going to die as a result of this right here, somewhere else. And we did not want to put it out there until we could get a good grip of what’s going on here,” Sherrif Terry Johnson said.

During the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office seized five firearms, approximately $7,000 in cash, and 1.2 kilograms of suspected cocaine. Two vehicles involved in the incident were also found, one found in Guilford County and one in Alamance County.

On April 11, deputies arrested Steven Stewart, Jr., Harris’ brother-in-law, charged him with first-degree murder, first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon in relation to the Wyatt Road incident. Deputies say another man, Juan Salinas Lara, is also wanted in this case and has active warrants for trafficking in cocaine.

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