Basketball coach and father of three Barney Dale Harris is believed to have broken into the residence at a mobile home park in Green Level, North Carolina, to steal drugs and money

By Katie Campione

A North Carolina charter school teacher was killed Thursday in a shootout while trying to rob a Mexican drug cartel’s stash house.

Barney Dale Harris, along with a team of people, is believed to have broken into a trailer at a mobile home park in Green Level, North Carolina, to steal drugs and money, investigators said in a news release.

Authorities responded to the incident around 12:52 a.m. after reports of gunshots heard in the area. When they arrived, they found Harris and another individual with multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.

Harris, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, mask, and gloves, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other victim, identified by deputies as Alonso Beltran Lara, was transported to the hospital where he later died.

A beloved high school teacher is accused of robbing the home of a Mexican drug cartel member in Alamance County,
N.C.Alamance County Sheriff’s Office

During a press conference Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said that detectives had determined that Harris and Lara were part of separate “criminal enterprises.”

Lara, who lived at the residence, was believed to be a drug runner for the Sinaloa New Generation Cartel, and the trailer was believed to be the cartel’s stash house, investigators said.

Harris, authorities said, was part of another criminal enterprise alongside his brother-in-law Steven Alexander Stewart Jr., who was attempting to rob the stash house.

Phone records lead detectives to believe that Harris entered the trailer while Lara was away and ambushed him upon his return. He was shot in the back of the head execution-style and died later in the hospital, Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said Wednesday.

At some point, a shootout ensued, involving multiple other people. Johnson described the deadly gunfight as akin to an “old Western shootout.”

Investigators found around 30 shell casings in and around the trailer. During their investigation, deputies seized 1.2 kilograms of suspected cocaine, five guns and about $7,000 in cash, according to the sheriff.

Stewart Jr., Harris’ brother-in-law, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree burglary in connection with the incident. It was not immediately clear if Stewart Jr. has retained legal counsel to speak on his behalf.

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