At least three Maiden residents have been charged with possessing items for making methamphetamine at a residential property west of U.S. 321, near the county’s northern end, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said.
Those charged in the incident include Angela V. Morrissette, 20, and Sara Elizabeth Jackson, 23, both of 3949 Biggerstaff Road, along with Carissa Rae Morrissette, 21, of 98 Union Street.
Deputies arrested the suspects after they said they located numerous drug-related ingredients around 3 p.m. Tuesday inside a vehicle parked at the Biggerstaff Road home.
Investigators said the seized items, which included drain-opener chemicals, pseudoephedrine, camp fuel, packs of cold medication and jars of a mysterious liquid, are commonly used for producing methamphetamine using the “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” method.
The particularly popular technique for making the toxic drug involves placing chemicals and other ingredients inside a plastic container and shaking it.
Law enforcement authorities across the nation agree that the process is more dangerous than the archaic method which called for more supplies and larger amounts of ingredients — amounts many states have determined to either closely track or outlaw for over-the-counter sales at pharmacies.
State Bureau of Investigation officers and Maiden police were also on scene Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Lincoln County drug investigators were already aiding the Catawba County agency on an open investigation in the area Tuesday when the officers spotted the suspicious-looking vehicle.
The SBI assisted in the cleanup process and took samples of the substances to the State Crime Lab, storing additional hazardous waste in a secure location. The agency also sent a chemist to the property on Wednesday morning, the Sheriff’s Office said.
All three suspects face one felony count of possession and distribution of a meth precursor.
Because deputies located three children inside the home, they additionally charged Jackson and Angela Morrissette with one misdemeanor charge apiece for child abuse.
Carissa Morrissette is also accused of carrying a concealed weapon.
The incident isn’t the first time the two neighboring law enforcement agencies have teamed up to sweep dealers and their drugs off the streets.
Lt. Jason Reid, head of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Narcotics Division, praised the joint investigation since officers promptly located and rooted out the suspects and their illegal materials before they could produce and sell the meth.
Reid noted the current Sheriff’s Office administration, under David Carpenter, maintains a goal-oriented and focused approach to law enforcement with the mindset that agencies should often unite to keep the community safe.
“These arrests wouldn’t have been possible without assistance from the Maiden Police Department,” he said.
“The investigation served as a perfect example of proactive law enforcement at its best. Working with other agencies is what Sheriff Carpenter has been focused on from day one.”
All three women remain behind bars, Angela Morrissette under a $50,000 secured bond and her two alleged counterparts each under a $40,000 secured bond.
Family members have since taken in the children, deputies said.