Five arrested in sting

By Abby Morris-Frye
star staff
amorris@starhq.com

  Five Johnson City men were arrested over the weekend following two separate undercover drug stings that went down in the parking lot of the Elizabethton Wal-Mart.
  All five of the men were charged with selling cocaine after undercover agents with the First Judicial District Drug Task Force completed drug buys from the men.
  Lucino Mendoza Mendoz, 20, and Javier Gomez, 27, both of 2105 Greenwood Dr., Apt. 58, Johnson City, were arrested by agents of the DTF in the first sting operation and were charged with the sale of a Schedule II narcotic. Antonio Avila Tapia, 27; Jaime Avila Tapia 22, and Francisco Romos, 30, all of 2712 W. Walnut St., Johnson City, were arrested by agents of the DTF in the second sting and also were charged with the sale of a Schedule II narcotic.
  According to reports, agents with the DTF contacted Mendoz and Gomez at approximately 10 p.m. Friday in reference to purchasing one ounce of cocaine for $700. Agents then drove to the parking lot of Wal-Mart, located on West Elk Avenue, which had been designated as the meeting place for the sale. Once Mendoz and Gomez arrived, the DTF agents conducted a "hand to hand buy" of approximately 11.2 grams of cocaine, states a DTF agent in his report on the incident.
  Mendoz and Gomez were then taken into custody by the DTF agents and transported to the Carter County Jail by officers of the Elizabethton Police Department.
  The second narcotics sting, which occurred approximately an hour-and-a-half later, went down much the same as the first.
  A few minutes after midnight, the same DTF agents involved in the first undercover operation contacted three more individuals in reference to purchasing cocaine. Again, the agents told the subjects that they wished to purchase one ounce of cocaine for $700.
  When the three subjects, Antonio Tapia, Jaime Tapia and Romos, arrived a few minutes later, agents again conducted a "hand to hand buy" of cocaine, purchasing approximately 7.2 grams of cocaine.
  After completing the purchase, officers of the DTF then took the three men into custody and Antonio Tapia, Jaime Tapia and Romos were transported to the Carter County Jail by officers of the Elizabethton Police Department.