26-year-old Justin Matthew Browning of Ross Drive in Rhodhiss was arrested Saturday (August 24) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Browning was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for September 9.
Working with the District Attorney’s Office and the NC Dept. of Public Safety (NC DPS) Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), the Burke County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) issued search warrants on four gaming locations in the county. Those gaming sites are at 1460 U.S. 70 West in Valdese, 1575 U.S. 70 West in Valdese, 2210 U.S. 70 East in Morganton, and 2000 Johns River Loop in Morganton. The warrants were served last Friday (August 23).
The searches were conducted simultaneously by more than 50 officers from the Sheriff's Office, ALE, NC DPS Probation and Corrections, and officers from the Morganton Department Public Safety, and Valdese, Drexel and Glen Alpine Police Departments.
The Sheriff's Office and ALE have conducted undercover operations determining that the machines in these locations were being operated in violation of the N.C. Statutes. The gaming machines were seized and stored as evidence pending court proceedings. Charges and arrests are pending for the people involved with these gaming locations.
Friday's searches were the first phase of ongoing investigations throughout Burke County by the Sheriff's Office and local police departments for all sites who are operating gaming machines illegally. The searches were conducted following complainants from citizens alleging crimes at or near these gaming sites ranging from solicitation of prostitution, illegal sale and use of controlled substances, possession of firearms, and possible sales of stolen property.
Complainants have also included break-ins and larcenies of property, trespassers on private property, and residents living near these properties being concerned about their family’s safety. The investigation into gaming sites in the Burke County is continuing.
55-year-old James Randy Hampton of Icard Dairy Burke Road in Hickory was arrested by Long View Police Officers. He's charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving while license revoked, and two counts of failure to appear. Hampton was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility this morning (August 26) under $4,500 bond. District Court dates were scheduled today, September 9, and September 10.
34-year-old Lori Ann Davis of 8th Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 7:10 p.m. yesterday (August 22) on one felony count of larceny of a motor vehicle.
She was arrested in connection to an incident on July 14 of this year. At that time, Officers responded to a stolen vehicle call at a residence on Wynnshire Drive in Hickory. On august 9, a warrant for Davis' arrest was issued.
Davis was taken into custody without incident at an arcade on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory. She was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $3,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court is coming up on Monday (August 26) in Newton.
19-year-old Herbert Lee Boyd, Jr. of Columbia, South Carolina, was arrested Thursday (August 22) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering to a vehicle and larceny of a motor vehicle.
According to the H.P.D. arrest report, on July 7, officers responded to an address on 2nd Street Place NE in reference to a larceny from a vehicle. During the investigation, Boyd was identified as the suspect and was arrested without incident early Thursday morning.
He was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (August 23).
37-year-old Sharon Diane Summers of Park Drive in Statesville was arrested Thursday (August 22) by Hickory Police Officers. She's charged with felony larceny.
According to a report issued today (August 23) by Hickory Police, on August 2, officers responded to Walmart on Highway 70 SE in reference to a larceny. The suspect, Summers, allegedly attempted to take items past the last point of sale without purchasing them. She was arrested without incident and charged.
Summers was brought to the Catawba County Detention Facility where bond was set at $15,000 secured. She was not listed as an inmate as of this afternoon. A District Court appearance was scheduled today in Newton.
47-year-old Enoch Elwood Mitchell, Jr. of Bryson City, N.C. was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (August 23) on one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon and one misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed gun.
He was taken into custody without incident at about 1:40 a.m. today after Police initiated a traffic stop in the parking lot at a restaurant on 15th Avenue S.E. in Hickory. During the incident, Officers found a Taurus handgun.
Mitchell was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $6,000, secured. He has since been released. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled today in Newton.
Seven suspects face felony drug charges in Iredell County. Five have been arrested, while two remain at-large.
33-year-old Breanna Frances Oliver of Regatta Lane in Mooresville, 38-year-old Jerry Lee Lippard III of Desiree Drive in Statesville, 39-year-old Bonnie Christine Jackson of Brookfield Drive in Statesville, 35-year-old Stephanie Anderson Williams of Foxcroft Lane in Statesville, and 24-year-old William Austin Blankenship of Linker Lane in Stony Point are all in custody. They have been charged with felony conspiracy to sell methamphetamine.
36-year-old Ian Kelly Shuemaker of Woodwinds Drive in Mooresville and 37-year-old Vincent Cornelius Jones of North Race Street in Statesville are both wanted for felony conspiracy to sell meth. Shuemaker, who is a registered sex offender, also faces three counts of felony possession with intent to manufacture or sell a controlled substance. Jones faces additional felony charges for the sale or delivery of a controlled substance and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance.
Their arrests were the result of a long-term undercover investigation into the trafficking of crystal meth. The investigation began in September of 2018 and ended Wednesday (August 21). Authorities initially received information indicating that Bonnie Christine Jackson was selling meth. Officers conducted surveillance to verify the information. Narcotics Investigators then purchased meth directly from the suspect.
Investigators received additional information indicating that William Austin Blankenship was also selling meth. Undercover Investigators verified the information and purchased meth from Blankenship. Throughout 2019, Investigators received information from various sources and conducted additional undercover operations involving Jackson and Blankenship, as well as Stephanie Williams, William Ian Shuemaker, and Vincent Cornelius Jones.
On June 8, Breanna Oliver and Jerry Lippard were found to be in possession of approximately 70 grams of crystal meth. When Investigators began to see similar names and other information in intelligence and surveillance reports, information obtained from the investigations into Oliver and Lippard was compiled.
Most of the drug purchases were hand-to-hand purchases made by Undercover Investigators. Other evidence was analyzed and documented, and arrest warrants were issued for all seven suspects. Five of the warrants were served Wednesday.
Bond for Oliver was set at $100,000, secured. Lippard and Williams were each given a $150,000 secured bond. Jackson is in the Mecklenburg County Detention Center and Blankenship is in the Odom Correctional Facility in Northampton County. No bond amount was listed for those two suspects. Oliver has a court date coming up on September 9. Lippard and Williams were due in court today (August 23). Jackson will appear in court on September 20 and Blankenship has an appearance set for October 24.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Ian Kelly Shuemaker or Vincent Cornelius Jones should call the Sheriff’s Office at 704-878-3100 or call 9-1-1.
The Catawba County Main Library branch in Newton will be hosting an event next week where free health checks will be offered. Physicians recommend regular monitoring of bodily functions like blood pressure and heart rate and the county is offering this event to give people a quick, easy way to get an update on this data. The library is partnering with Catawba Valley Health System’s Health First office.
Nurses from the practice will be available to provide basic readings and answer questions about general health concerns. They can also help you track your progress and offer tips to keep you healthy. To get a status check on your health, drop by the Main Library in Newton beginning at 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 29. No appointment necessary.
31-year-old Joshua Lynn Whitmire of U.S. 70 East in Catawba was arrested Thursday (August 22) by Probation and Parole officers. He's charged with felony probation violation and parole violation. Whitmire was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for next Monday (August 26).
32-year-old Eric Lee Miller of South Main Street in Granite Falls was arrested Thursday (August 22) by Granite Falls Police Officers. He's charged with failure to appear on a count of felony probation violation. Miller was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $50,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for September 23.
27-year-old Charlotte Victoria Sturgill of Ward Green Street in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (August 22) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver methamphetamine. Sturgill was placed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (August 23).
45-year-old Wesley Tyrone Ferguson of Stage Street in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (August 22) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver cocaine, possession of cocaine, maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for controlled substance, possession with intent to sell and deliver controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a park, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Thursday, shortly before 10 a.m., officers from the Lenoir Police Department Narcotics Unit along with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit served a search warrant at the residence of Wesley Ferguson on Stage Street in Lenoir. While conducting the search of the residence investigators found and seized .7 grams of crack cocaine, 10.5 dosage units of Hydrocodone, and one dosage unit of Oxycodone.
Officers also found and seized a 9mm pistol, an SKS assault rifle, a 12 gauge Stevens pump shotgun, 72 rounds of ammo, and $216 in U.S. currency. The pistol was reported stolen to the Lenoir Police Department on March 23, 2019. According to North Carolina State guidelines, the seized drugs were valued at $250.
Ferguson was arrested at the scene. The arrest is the culmination of a three month long investigation. More charges are possible. The suspect was brought to the Caldwell County Detention Center where bond was set at $75,000 secured. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (August 23). Anyone with information relating to this or any other crime is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 758-8300 or the Lenoir Police Department at 757-2100.
21-year-old Jermichael Junior Hunt III was arrested on August 15 on two counts of possession of a stolen firearm.
According to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Hunt is a suspect in the theft of firearms and other equipment from several law enforcement vehicles. The incidents occurred in late July and early August. The Hickory Police Department and the Sheriff's Offices in Burke and Iredell counties were all involved in a total of five different break-ins.
At the time of his arrest, Hunt was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. He is no longer listed as an inmate in Catawba County. He has District Court dates scheduled on August 26 in Burke County and on September 5 in Catawba County.