One of two men busted in meth lab operation jailed second time this summer
A Maiden man is behind bars for the second time in two months for making methamphetamine after narcotics investigators located both lab remnants and precursors inside a Lincolnton residence Wednesday, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies arrested James Christopher Coleman, 42, of Bob Cook Road, and Brandon Keith Scronce, 33, of 725 Clay Street in Lincolnton, in the incident.
Coleman was first placed in handcuffs on June 27 after drug officers said they uncovered the largest meth lab operation of its kind this year.
During the bust, deputies spent hours searching Coleman’s property, seizing 30 one-pot labs from his residence and an abandoned home behind his house, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Coleman was later released on a $30,000 secured bond.
In Thursday’s incident, investigators discovered an inactive one-pot meth lab and various ingredients commonly used to produce the potent drug inside a home at 928 White Street in Lincolnton, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Narcotics investigators responded to the city site around 5 p.m. after receiving word of possible drug activity in the area.
Specific chemicals seized included lye, lithium batteries, Coleman fuel, liquid fire, instant cold packs and iodized salt, an agency press release said.
Various residents in the area, who referred to the mill village community as “Goat Hill,” weren’t too surprised to see law enforcement officers flood the area property.
Debbie Bethoulle, who lives directly across the street from where officers said they located the lab, said she frequently witnessed heavy traffic at the residence but always minded her own business.
“I don’t try to get involved,” she said.
After only seven years in Lincoln County and two years at her White Street home, Bethoulle wants to move to a better, less crime-ridden area, particularly since her 10-year-old grandson lives with her.
She was relieved to hear officers had finally cracked down on her neighbors.
“Thank God,” she said. “Enough is enough.”
Other White Street neighbors, who wished to remain unidentified, said they had heard a small explosion at the home that evening.
Resident Michelle Frady said she couldn’t understand why her dogs had been frantically barking at that time, but after she spoke with other area individuals she determined the animals’ excitement stemmed from the loud noise.
“That must have been why,” she said, piecing the events together.
Frady noted that police had been called to the house nearly a year ago for an incident involving fighting.
Jesse Jones was a little more shocked than his neighbors to see the commotion on his street.
The area homeowner, who works third shift and lives with his wife and two children, had been asleep for most of the day.
“I woke up to this,” he said of the incident.
He called the alleged drug activity “surprising.”
Both suspects remain without bond in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center and face one felony count each of possession and distribution of methamphetamine precursor chemicals and manufacturing methamphetamine.
They are scheduled to make a first appearance in a Lincoln County courtroom today.