Lincoln County narcotics investigators said they arrested a Vale man on meth charges for the second time since December on Tuesday.
Drug unit deputies charged Carl Ray Davenport, 39, of 7156 Doyle Beam Memorial Road, with manufacturing a schedule II controlled substance, after finding a one-pot lab inside his home, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said.
Narcotics officers had been on the western end of the county tracking meth precursors when they responded to the suspect’s home for a “knock-and-talk” with residents, according to an agency press release.
The investigative technique is used to gain entry into a home without obtaining a warrant, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Officers will knock on a home’s door and talk residents into inviting them inside.
However, deputies do not need a search warrant to enter a home, the release said, if illegal activity is spotted during the interview.
While chatting with Davenport at the residence around 2 p.m., investigators said they spied the lab in a bedroom, prompting them to secure the area and get a search warrant for the property.
The incident served as the second arrest for Davenport in less than three months, the Sheriff’s Office said.
He was first arrested at the home on Dec. 2 for similar drug charges and later released on a more than $100,000 secured bond.
Deputies were on scene for several hours Tuesday, waiting for agents with the State Bureau of Investigation to arrive and assist the local agency with the lab’s cleanup — part of the agency’s protocol for processing crime scenes containing the toxic drug.
According to Lt. Jason Reid, head of the Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit, this week’s bust serves as the third Lincoln County incident of its kind since Jan. 1, putting investigators on the fast track to potentially locating a higher number of meth labs this year than in 2013, when officers uncovered more than 20 labs.
“This puts us on pace to dismantle more labs than we did last year,” he said.
Reid credited drug investigators’ continued proactive approach and seasoned skills with allowing the unit to uncover yet another active lab in the county.
“They continue to utilize NPLEX as a proactive tool instead of a reactive tool,” he said.
According to its website, NPLEX, the National Precursor Log Exchange, “is a real-time electronic logging system used by pharmacies and law enforcement to track sales of over-the-counter (OTC) cold and allergy medications containing the precursors to the illegal drug, methamphetamine.”
In addition to prior felony convictions for second-degree burglary and discharging a firearm into occupied territory, Davenport maintains an involuntary manslaughter charge on his record from Gaston County, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction website.
He served more than three years in prison for the offense.
Davenport is scheduled to appear in district court today on his most recent drug charges.
The Sheriff’s Office encouraged area residents to continue contacting its Drug Tip Line at (704) 736-8606 or (704) 736-8422 with information on county drug activity.
Investigators said they follow up on all tips received.