An alleged theft investigation turned into a meth lab bust Tuesday, resulting in drug charges for a western Lincoln County man and a 16-year-old, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Detectives said while responding to a larceny call near Vale, they located an active “shake-and-bake” lab inside an outbuilding at 1244 Hull’s Grove Church Road in Lincolnton.
Deputies said they became suspicious after spotting a person leaving an outbuilding at the residence.
When officers approached the man, he confessed to running an active lab inside the building.
Narcotics investigators responded to the scene a short time later to take over the investigation, which the Sheriff’s Office said now raises the year’s total meth lab busts in the county to 20.
The number of Lincoln County meth incidents this year not only far outweighs 2013 meth statistics in any other North Carolina county but also exceeds agency history’s previous total for the most labs located in one year.
Officials with the State Crime Lab assisted in cleaning up the scene’s drug precursors, which the Sheriff’s Office said included Drano, lithium batteries, muriatic acid, ammonium nitrate cold packs, lye and pseudoephedrine.
Those charged in the incident included resident Kenneth Michael Ingle, 28, and Emmanuel Watts, 16, of 7294 Chambers Lane in Vale.
Both face one felony count each of manufacturing a schedule II controlled substance and possession and distribution of meth precursors.
A second person at the residence was served outstanding warrants in connection with an unrelated crime.
Deputies said they charged Robyn Michelle Mellon, 39, also of 7294 Chambers Lane in Vale, with breaking into four tractor-trailers on Cat Square Road in August.
She faces one felony count each of buying and receiving stolen property and possession of stolen goods and has since posted a $3,000 secured bond.
Ingle and Watts each remain behind county bars under a $20,000 bond and are set to appear in court today on the charges.
Detectives M. Burgess and J. Propst investigated Tuesday’s incident.