Deputies responding to assault find meth, booby-trapped bunker

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2013

When Iredell County Sheriff’s Office got a call last Sunday about a fight in progress involving a pipe and knife, they headed to a home in Harmony to try to stop a rumored attack there.
Two people who had been assaulted on Linda Drive in Harmony told deputies that Lelan Earl Gifford III, 45, of Harmonay, had hit them and made threats about shooting one of them. According to the report, Gifford then said he was going to his home on Stine Road in Harmony to assault a third person.
Deputies quickly responded to the Stine Road address looking for Gifford to prevent the third assault. When deputies arrived, they tried to find someone in the house, but could not. Deputies noticed an outbuilding behind the residence with the door open and lights on. When they checked the building for Gifford, they saw a substance in a container which was determined to be methamphetamine.
Deputies then secured the home and contacted detectives with the Criminal Investigations Division as well as narcotics officers. Detectives began working to getting a search warrant for the home.
While deputies waited at Stine Road, Gifford came back and was taken into custody without further incident.
After executing a search warrant at the residence, deputies found an amount of methamphetamine, precursors to manufacturing methamphetamine, a firearm and ammunition.
Upon further investigation, detectives found a large hole on the corner of the property where it appeared that Gifford was building some type of bunker. The hole was approximately 25 feet deep with stairs leading down to the bottom, where it also appeared that tunnels were started. Detectives also found booby traps in a wooded area on the property around the bunker which consisted of fishing line tied between trees on paths with fish hooks hanging from them. These were designed to be invisible to the eye, especially in the dark, and to snag intruders coming onto the property.
Gifford is now facing charges of possession of methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, maintaining a dwelling for use of controlled substance and possession of firearm by convicted felon. He is being held in the Iredell County jail under a $15,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing.