District Attorney Ashley Hornsby Welch said a key figure in Operation Jawbreaker, a sweep two years ago of suspected local drug dealers acting in concert on a two-state level, was arrested Tuesday and charged with harboring a fugitive.
Wade Ennis, 60, is accused of helping James Steele, 47, elude law enforcement after Steele skipped a $2.5 million bond. He did not show up in June as ordered in Macon County Superior Court.
Steele also faced arrest in Operation Jawbreaker.
Ennis and Steele were arrested again Aug. 3, this time in Transylvania County. They were charged with possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia.
Additionally, Steele was charged with providing fictitious information to an officer.
Operation Jawbreaker targeted a well-organized criminal enterprise involved in distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and heroin – not only in Macon County, but in Western North Carolina and North Georgia.
In the April 2018 sweep that resulted in 25 arrests, Ennis was charged with continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin, conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, trafficking opium/heroin, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver methamphetamine, maintaining dwelling/place, possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine.
Steel was arrested for continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to traffic opium/heroin, trafficking opium/heroin, possession of heroin, deliver heroin X2, possession controlled substance on jail premises.
Prosecutors Tuesday requested Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Bill Coward revoke Ennis’ bond.
Ennis’ defense attorney, Wade Collins, argued against the bond revocation, saying the allegations from Transylvania County are, at this juncture, unproven. His client has not fled the jurisdiction since being charged in Jawbreaker, and he would not flee now, Collins told the judge.
The judge set a $700,000 bond for Ennis for the harboring a fugitive in addition to previous bond.