Three people were arrested after the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about methamphetamine being sold from a house.
Officers went to a home on Liberty Lane on Friday. When they arrived, they found a working meth lab at the house.
“We went to the house to investigate and there was a bonfire in the backyard,” said Kelly Ward, a narcotics officer with the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office. “They had already made one batch and were preparing to make another.”
The first batch yielded about two to three grams, which is considered a medium-sized lab by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation standards, Ward said.
The officers arrested Eric Shane Lackey, 37; Lisa Jonas Matheson, 34; and Timothy Lewis Davis, 38, all of Taylorsville. They were all charged with one count of manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of a precursor chemical. Davis was given a $15,000 bond.
Lackey and Matheson were also charged with one count each of maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance. They were given $25,000 bonds.
Ward said officers are familiar with Lackey and Matheson. Lackey has been arrested for DWI and both have been arrested on drug charges, he said.
After a meth lab is discovered at a residence, the SBI is called in to dismantle and clean it up. Because the byproducts of cooking methamphetamine are so toxic, there are other procedures they do, as well.
“The SBI does tests on a residence and informs the landowner what they can and can’t do on the property,” Ward said. “These people were cooking on the outside of the property, so I think the house will still be OK to live in. But the homeowner enters at their own risk.”
One of the main ingredients used to cook meth is pseudoephedrine. It’s an active ingredient in many cold and allergy medicines. In an effort to curb meth production, the federal government passed a law in 2006 that prohibited the number of over-the-counter medicines a person could purchase each month that contained pseudoephedrine.
Those drugs are also now kept behind a pharmacy counter, and a person must sign their name in a pharmacy log when they purchase any product with pseudoephedrine.
Ward said people still find a way around it.
“People get their friends to help,” he said. “They trade (products with pseudoephedrine) for pills and other products, or they’ll go to a crack (area) and give someone $20 to get a box and let that person keep the change.”
Ward said he spent Wednesday tracking down how Lackey, Matheson and Davis obtained their pseudoephedrine supply to make meth.