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Deputies say surveillance leads to narcotics charges



Staff Writer


Sheriff’s narcotics investigators were successful in apprehending two Lincoln County men and one Gaston County man on drug-related charges Monday night after searching a residence and completing two surveillance operations, officers said.

Deputies arrested Phillip Lawrence Byers, 42, of 228 Bessemer City Road in Gastonia, around 10 p.m. after he attempted to buy/sell 24 grams of crack cocaine, valued at between $1,000 and $3,000, in the parking lot of Howard Handy Food Mart in High Shoals, according to an agency press release.

Narcotics officers said they responded to the site after they received a call about a drug deal set to occur that night at the business.

After setting up surveillance, officers watched two vehicles pull onto the property followed by a hand-to-hand transaction between Byers and another individual. In addition to cocaine, officers seized $1,500 in cash, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Byers was charged with one felony count of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine and placed under a $10,000 secured bond. He’s since been released from the Lincoln County jail.

Three hours earlier, narcotics investigators kicked in the front door of Lincolnton resident David Rowe III. Officers went to the King Wilkinson Road residence with a search warrant after receiving multiple calls to the Drug Tip Line earlier this year about possible drug activity at the home, a release said.

The 37-year-old resident is accused of harboring a felony amount of hydroponic marijuana. The specially cultivated marijuana contains an increased amount of the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), narcotics officers told the Times-News.

Rowe faces one felony count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling/vehicle for a controlled substance. He’s additionally charged with one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia and has since been released on a $7,500 secured bond.

No one was injured in the incident, deputies said.

Monday’s first drug arrest occurred around 5:30 p.m. following a similar surveillance operation behind the Cinema Theater in Lincolnton. Officers said they monitored a suspicious vehicle on the property for more than an hour before a second vehicle entered the scene. Again, a drug transaction followed, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Officers seized nearly $2,000 in cash in the bust along with two pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated value of between $3,000 and $5,000, the release said.

Anthony Dewayne Cunningham, 21, of 317 Colonial Village Drive in Lincolnton, was charged with one felony count each of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle/dwelling for a controlled substance.

Cunningham has since posted a $7,000 secured bond.

Individuals may call the Drug Tip Line at (704) 736-8606 regarding area drug activity, and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office promises to investigate all tips.

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