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North Carolina teacher shot dead by Mexican cartel after trying to steal their drugs

A popular North Carolina high school teacher and married father-of-three has been killed in a shoot-out with a Mexican cartel after he tried to rob them of drugs and cash. 

Barney Dale Harris, 40, was shot dead when he raided the cartel’s stash house in Green Level, north-west of Raleigh, last week.   

Authorities say Harris and his brother-in-law Steven Alexander Stewart broke into the mobile home, which the cartel was using as its stash house, in the early morning hours of April 8 to steal narcotics and cash. 

Harris had donned a bullet proof vest for the raid.

The shootout started after the pair were confronted by a member of the cartel, 18-year-old Alonso Beltran Lara, when they broke into the stash house.

North Carolina high school teacher and father Barney Dale Harris, 40, (above with his wife) was shot dead when he raided the cartel’s stash house in Green Level, north-west of Raleigh, last week

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said Harris and Stewart shot the cartel member dead after he refused to say where the drugs and cash were. 

The cartel member was found with his feet bound and two gunshot wounds to the back of his head.  

The gunfire alerted other members of the cartel who arrived and opened on the mobile home. 

Harris was later found dead in a bedroom. 

His brother-in-law was arrested and has been charged with armed robbery and first-degree murder. 

Authorities later found two pounds of cocaine and $7,000 in cash in the stash house. The trailer was owned by another cartel member, Juan Daniel Salinas Lara, who has an active warrant for trafficking cocaine.

They say Harris and Stewart had tracked members of the cartel before the shootout using electronic devices. 

The circumstances surrounding Harris’ death has left his community and authorities dumbfounded. 

Barney Harris was later found dead in a bedroom

His brother-in-law Steven Alexander Stewart was arrested and has been charged with armed robbery and first-degree murder

Barney Harris (left) was later found dead in a bedroom. His brother-in-law Steven Alexander Stewart (right) was arrested and has been charged with armed robbery and first-degree murder

Authorities say Harris and his brother-in-law broke into the mobile home (above), which the cartel was using as its stash house, in the early morning hours of April 8 to steal narcotics and cash. Photo courtesy of WSOCTV

Authorities say Harris and his brother-in-law broke into the mobile home (above), which the cartel was using as its stash house, in the early morning hours of April 8 to steal narcotics and cash. Photo courtesy of WSOCTV

Alonso Beltran Lara

Juan Daniel Salinas Lara

The shootout started after the pair shot dead 18-year-old Alonso Beltran Lara (left), a member of the cartel, when they broke into the stash house. Authorities say the trailer was owned by another cartel member, Juan Daniel Salinas Lara (right), who has an active warrant for trafficking cocaine.

‘It’s just hard to understand,’ Sheriff Johnson said at a press conference on Wednesday. 

‘The fact that someone like Mr Harris, who apparently had a pretty good life as a teacher and a coach, wound up in this type of crime.’ 

Harris leaves behind a wife and three children.  

He taught Spanish at Union Academy Charter School, which is some 130 miles away from where the shoot-out occurred. 

Harris, who was described as a beloved father, was also the head coach of the school’s varsity basketball and track teams.

The school released a statement saying: ‘The Union Academy family was shocked and devastated to hear the information and will continue to focus on supporting our students and families.’ 

The sheriff said he now feared for Harris’ family over potential retaliation from the cartel. 

‘I am still worried about some retaliation because the Mexican cartels, they don’t forget,’ Johnson said. 

‘They are going to pay someone back and that concerns me a great deal as sheriff of this county.’          

The circumstances surrounding Harris' death has left his community and authorities dumbfounded. He has been described as a well-loved teacher and devoted father

The circumstances surrounding Harris’ death has left his community and authorities dumbfounded. He has been described as a well-loved teacher and devoted father

He taught Spanish at Union Academy Charter School, which is some 130 miles away from where the shoot-out occurred. Harris was also the head coach of the school's varsity basketball and track teams

He taught Spanish at Union Academy Charter School, which is some 130 miles away from where the shoot-out occurred. Harris was also the head coach of the school’s varsity basketball and track teams

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk