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Man faces meth charges for second time in 2 months




Staff Writer



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 meth charges the end of June after drug officers said they uncovered the largest meth lab operation of its kind this year at his property.

During the bust, deputies spent hours searching Coleman’s home, seizing 30 one-pot labs from inside 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 Wednesday’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 swarm the home.

Debbie Bethoulle, who lives directly across the street from where officers said they located the lab, said she frequently witnesses heavy traffic at the residence but always minds 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 residence, Bethoulle wants to move to a better, less crime-ridden area, she said, particularly since her 10-year-old grandson lives with her.

She was relieved to hear officers finally cracked down on her neighbors.

“Thank God,” she said. “Enough is enough.”

Other White Street neighbors said they first grew concerned that evening when they heard a small explosion at the home.

Michelle Frady, in particular, couldn’t understand why her dogs were frantically barking at the time, but after she spoke with other area individuals she determined the animals’ excitement must have stemmed from the loud noise.

Investigators said an aerosol can blew up behind the residence but was unrelated to the meth lab.

Frady also noted that nearly a year ago officers were called to the same house where Coleman and Scronce were arrested. She said individuals at the home were fighting and disturbing the area at the time.

Jesse Jones, on the other hand, was more shocked than Frady and Bethoulle to see the display of law enforcement vehicles on his street this week.

The area homeowner, who works third shift and lives with his wife and two children, was asleep for most of the day but said he woke up just as the arrests and residential search were taking place.

He called the alleged drug activity “surprising.”

Both suspects remain in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center without bond and face one felony count each of possession and distribution of methamphetamine precursor chemicals and manufacturing methamphetamine.

The North Carolina Department of Correction website showed Scronce has a lengthy criminal rap sheet in the county.

Not only did he spend multiple years in prison for second-degree kidnapping in 2009 but also maintains felony convictions for more than one instance each of breaking and entering and larceny.

Additional misdemeanor offenses to Scronce’s name include assault on a female, second-degree trespassing and assault with a deadly weapon.



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