Sheriff Darren Campbell stated: On January 13, 2015 the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigation Unit opened an investigation into the trafficking of marijuana in Mooresville, when a suspicious package was delivered to a storage facility. Due to the suspicious package having been delivered by a commercial package delivery company, the US Postal Investigators did not have jurisdiction, however one of the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigators is assigned to a Homeland Security (HSI) Task Force out of their Charlotte Field Office and this detective was utilized during this investigation.
This investigator along with a detective from the Mooresville Police Department and a North Carolina Highway Patrolman, who are also on the HSI Task Force, were able to obtain a search warrant for the package and upon opening it located 10 pounds of high grade marijuana. Documentation was located showing the storage unit renter’s name was, Takaaki Ishbashi. Over the course of the next four days additional packages of marijuana from locations in California were received and seized at this storage unit.
The investigation gained momentum when, workers at the storage facility notified investigators with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and the Mooresville Police Department the suspect, Takaaki Ishbashi was at the storage unit. A surveillance operation was quickly established and the suspect was followed to Kannapolis where task force members stopped the suspect’s vehicle.
During the stop and subsequent search of the suspect’s vehicle, keys to numerous other storage units in Huntersville, Kannapolis, Concord and Pineville were located. Each law enforcement agency was able to obtain a search warrant for the storage locations in their jurisdiction. The searches uncovered an additional 31 pounds of marijuana.
When the investigators ran the suspect’s name for a criminal history, it was learned Ishbashi had an outstanding warrant in Tokyo Japan for trafficking marijuana.
On August 6, 2015 Takaaki Ishibashi pled guilty in Iredell County Superior Court to Attempted Trafficking of Marijuana and Possession with Intent to Sell and Deliver Marijuana, he was sentenced to between 9 and 25 months active time in the North Carolina Division of Prisons and upon his release from prison, he will be deported by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to Japan to stand trial for his crimes there.