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Teacher's Double Life Exposed in Shootout With Cartel

Barney Harris was killed while trying to rob stash home of drug cartel, says sheriff in North Carolina
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2021 12:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Barney Dale Harris was a beloved Spanish teacher and basketball coach in Monroe, North Carolina. But his students were unaware he hid a dangerous side of himself, which was revealed with his death in a shootout with a Mexican drug cartel, says the Alamance County Sheriff's Office, per WSET. Authorities say the Union Academy Charter School teacher and his brother-in-law, Steven Alexander Stewart, broke into a mobile home in Green Level used by the Jalisco New Generation cartel to stash money and drugs last week, per NBC News. The pair subdued a man who showed up at the residence, identified as Alonso Beltran Lara, then "executed" him with two bullets in the back of the head, Sheriff Terry Johnson tells WSOC. "They were trying to find the money and drugs and apparently he didn’t give them the information to do that."

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Harris quickly met a similar fate as other cartel members arrived, initiating a shootout. "It was almost like an old Western shootout," Johnson tells NBC, noting three other homes were hit by bullets. No bystanders were injured. Harris, found with multiple gunshot wounds in a bedroom, was declared dead at the scene. Johnson says he was wearing a bulletproof vest, "but it did not work with the kind of [high-caliber] ammunition that was used." Lara, whose feet and arms were bound, was taken from the home but later died at a hospital. Stewart was arrested Sunday and charged with murder, burglary, and possession of a firearm by a felon, per WSOC. Authorities, who found $7,000 and 2.5 pounds of cocaine in the home, say Juan Daniel Salinas Lara, who has active warrants for trafficking cocaine, is still wanted in connection to the shooting. (Read more shootout stories.)

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