44-year-old Donna Renee McCombs of Branch Way Court in Charlotte has been arrested in Iredell County on one felony count each of possession of marijuana, trafficking heroin by transport and trafficking heroin by possession.

Her arrest came about as part of a recent three-day, multi-agency operation in Iredell County associated with “Operation Tarheel Gauntlet”. The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations, along with Officers and Deputies from other local law enforcement agencies, worked the interstates and roadways with marked patrol and canine units while Undercover Investigators worked motels, truck stops and rest areas.

On the first afternoon of the operation, a car driven by McCombs was stopped on I-77 by an Iredell County Deputy. After obtaining consent to search the car, 396 grams of heroin, 456 grams of a narcotics cutting agent and a pound of high-grade marijuana were located.

Based on information gathered during the traffic stop, a search warrant was executed at a residence in an adjoining county. Seven additional pounds of marijuana and $7,400 were found.

McCombs was taken to the Iredell County Detention Center under a $500,000 secured bond. A District Court date was set for December 9.

On the first day of the operation, a stolen car was located at a local motel. The car was connected to a robbery at a Winston-Salem jewelry store. During the robbery, one of the alleged suspects was shot and killed.

Over the three days, 287 traffic stops were made. 74 warning tickets were issued. 30 vehicles were searched with K-9s. Two grams of crack and one gram or methamphetamine were recovered. Eight felony charges and 15 misdemeanor charges were issued and two search warrants were conducted.

34-year-old Michael Allen Wright has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers in connection to an incident in Hickory. He was charged with first-degree burglary and carrying a concealed weapon.

Shortly after midnight last Thursday (November 26), Wright and an unidentified Hispanic male forced open the front door and entered a residence on the 1300 block of 13th Avenue N.E. in Hickory. Wright was armed with a pistol. The 42-year-old female victim said the men were looking for an individual who is currently in jail.

Upon learning that the man they were looking for wasn’t there, the two subjects took a tablet and a router and left the residence. The stolen items were valued at $110.

Wright was taken into custody in Lincoln County later the same day. The other suspect remains at large. Wright was jailed under a $101,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in District Court today (November 30) in Newton and on January 8 in Lincolnton.

37-year-old Jonathan Daniel Hatfield of Underdown Avenue in Lenoir, 28-year-old Shelby Price Lear of Mt. Herman Road in Hudson, 24-year-old Jeremy Lynn Brinkley of Sweet Maple Place in Lenoir and 34-year-old Michael Vincent Osborne of Collins Street in Lenoir have all been arrested on drug charges. They were each charged with felony conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine. Three of the suspects (excluding Osborne) were also charged with felony maintaining a vehicle to keep or store methamphetamine.

The investigation leading to their arrests included Agents & Officers from the Caldwell County Sheriff’s I.C.E. Unit, the Lenoir Police Department’s Narcotics Division, the Hickory Police Department, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the Boone Police Department, the Burke County Narcotics Task Force, the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Homeland Security.

During the course of the investigation, Narcotics Agents learned of a group of suspects traveling to the Atlanta, Georgia area to pick up large amounts of crystal meth and bring it back to Caldwell County for distribution. On November 29, Narcotics Agents tracked and arrested the suspects after their final run, which netted approximately nine ounces of crystal meth. The drugs seized have a street value estimated at over $37,000.

Lear and Hatfield were arrested in Hickory, while Brinkley and Osborne were arrested in Caldwell County. All four suspects were jailed in the Caldwell Co. Detention Center with bond for each set at $100,000, secured. They were all scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today (November 30) in Lenoir.

The investigation is continuing.

A water line break has left more than 30 homes on N.C. 126 in Morganton without water service this morning (November 30). The city’s Water Resources Department shut off water service to the area just after 7 a.m. to repair the line.

Customers living on N.C. 126 from Independence Boulevard to the Emory Wood subdivision and Whispering Pine Street and all side streets are affected. Sam Wall Avenue and Branstrom Drive are also without water.

The Water Resources Department anticipates that water service will be restored this afternoon, barring any unforeseen problems.

Freedom High School is not affected.

53-year-old Kennedy Ray Nelson of Hickory was hit by a vehicle at 7:28 last night (November 29) on Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard in Hickory, not far from the Fresh Oil Ministries church.

The incident occurred on the 200 block of L-R Boulevard (also known as 8th Street Drive S.E.). A 2005 Nissan Altima driven by 19-year-old Timothy Ryan Sapp of Hickory struck Mr. Nelson as he attempted to cross Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard on foot, from east to west.

Mr. Nelson sustained critical injuries. He was transported by Catawba Co. E.M.S. to Catawba Valley Medical Center. No further update on his condition was available today.

The Hickory Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit is conducting an ongoing investigation into the collision. Neither alcohol nor speed appear to be factors with regard to the vehicle’s driver. Mr. Sapp has not been charged at this time. Police do suspect that alcohol may have been a factor with regard to the victim.

Hickory Police are asking for the public’s assistance in their investigation into the death of William “Pierre” Mayfield. Mr. Mayfield went missing on September 21 2014. On June 30 of this year, his skeletal remains were found in a wooded area behind a residence on 15th Avenue S.E. in Hickory.

The H.P.D. investigation is active and ongoing. An undisclosed cash reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 13:05

Hickory Man Held on Felony Fugitive Warrant

38-year-old Dennis Paul Kramber of U.S. Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before ten o’clock last night (November 23) on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state.

Kramber was taken into custody without incident at his residence. He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility where he is being held without bond. A first appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow.

No further details are available.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 10:19

Hickory Man Faces Felony Heroin Charges

32-year-old Patrick Michael Robbins of 21st Avenue N.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 4:25 yesterday afternoon (November 23) on one felony count each of trafficking opium or heroin and manufacturing, selling, delivering or possessing a controlled substance on or near a playground. Robbins is accused of possessing 6.6 grams of heroin and 1.8 grams of marijuana.

He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $150,000, secured. He has since been released.  A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for today in Newton.


31-year-old Andrew Jeffrey Mullins of West Meadowview Drive in Statesville was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after 9:30 Friday morning (November 20) on one felony count of uttering a forged instrument. He was also charged with a misdemeanor probation violation. The warrants for his arrest were issued in Iredell County.

Mullins was taken into custody without incident at a residence on Robinson Road in Newton. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $1,000, secured. He has since been released. An appearance in District Court was scheduled for January 11 in Statesville.

Monday, 23 November 2015 14:18

Hickory Man Charged with Felony Shoplifting

51-year-old Mark Anthony Fountain of 9th Avenue Drive S.E. in Hickory was arrested at about 3:50 Friday afternoon (November 20) on one felony count larceny by anti-inventory device. He was also charged with habitual felony shoplifting.

He was arrested after Hickory Police responded to a larceny call at the Wal-Mart store on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. A Loss Prevention Officer provided information indicating that Fountain at taken an assortment of merchandise from the store on various dates.

A warrant for his arrest was issued on November 8. He was taken into custody without incident on the 600 block of South Center Street Friday. Fountain was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $2,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in court today (November 23) with his next District Court date coming up on December 14 in Newton.

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