Deputies said they arrested two Catawba County residents and one Caldwell County man Sunday morning after locating a knife, hypodermic needles, counterfeit identification documents and methamphetamine inside the suspects’ vehicle during a traffic stop on N.C. 27 West in Lincolnton.
Officers initiated a stop on the vehicle around 7 a.m. after noticing it had a burned out license plate light, according to an agency press release.
Sheriff’s sergeant S. Grinnell spotted the vehicle parked near the intersection of N.C. 27 West and Davis Road, with four people inside acting suspiciously, the release said.
The suspects drove past the patrol vehicle shortly after, prompting Grinnell to pull the vehicle over near the South Fork River bridge.
The driver, Ricky Eugene Lewis, 32, of 358 East 26th Street in Newton, initially gave Grinnell a fake identification card, deputies said.
Once the officer learned the man’s true name, he discovered Lewis was wanted for a probation violation, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Grinnell additionally checked the identifications of the other three people traveling inside the vehicle, which he also searched and located hypodermic needles and methamphetamine in plastic baggies, the release said.
Narcotics investigators also responded to the scene and estimated the value of the controlled substance to be around $400.
Officers also found a BB gun, a large knife, various other drug paraphernalia and a needle filled and ready for use inside the vehicle, the release said.
Several North Carolina identification cards were also seized.
Lewis and two other individuals were arrested in the incident.
The driver alone faces a number of charges including one felony count each of possession of a schedule II controlled substance, possession with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, conspiracy, identity theft-trafficking in stolen identities and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.
Additional misdemeanor charges filed against Lewis included one count each of failure to appear, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving with a revoked license and rear lamp-required lighting equipment for vehicles.
He remains in the Lincoln County jail under a $60,000 secured bond.
Haley Dawn Young, 20, of Hickory, who listed her address as homeless, deputies said, was charged with one felony count each of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and conspiracy along with one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
The third suspect arrested in the case was Michael Scott Looper, 36, of 137 Martin Lane in Hiddenite.
Looper, who has a felony drug history in Catawba County, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction website, also faces one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance, conspiracy and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance. Misdemeanor charges filed against him include one count each of carrying a concealed weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Looper was incarcerated for at least two years for trafficking a schedule VI drug, NC DOC showed.
Public records also revealed Lewis spent nine months in prison for a DWI and maintains felony convictions on his record from 2002 for breaking and entering vehicles in Catawba County and a year earlier for possessing stolen goods in Guilford County.
Both Looper and Young remain behind bars, each under a $15,000 secured bond.
In addition to Grinnell and Sheriff’s narcotics investigators, Deputy L. Leonard and Lincolnton Police Officer C. McGinley investigated the scene.