Meth lab bust in China Grove

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

CHINA GROVE — Sheriff’s deputies shut down a large scale China Grove meth lab on Monday.

Deputies, assisted by the Salisbury Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation-Southern Piedmont District and Clandestine Laboratory Response Team went into 179 Sechler St. under a state search warrant.

Evidence of a large scale meth lab was found inside and outside the house, including “one pot shake and bake” laboratories, gas generators, methamphetamine precursor materials, methamphetamine oil and finished batches of methamphetamine. Outside, investigators discovered a trash can that apparently caught fire with a lid partially melted from discarded items used to make methamphetamine.

John Lowell Hopkins Jr., 40, lived at the house and Richard Thompson, 45, a Concord resident, was inside the home when the search occurred.

A loaded handgun was found inside a Nissan SUV parked near the door of the home. The car belonged to Hopkins, a previously convicted felon, who is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Thompson was arrested on misdemeanor warrants from Cabarrus County.

Hopkins was charged with two counts of possession of immediate precursor chemicals, maintaining a dwelling and manufacturing a controlled substance.  Numerous other charges are expected, to include trafficking methamphetamine and possession of firearm by felon. Hopkins has two February 2005, convictions in Rowan County Superior Court for possession of immediate precursor chemicals and felony possession of Schedule II.

He was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $200,000 secured bond.

Rowan County Sheriff's Office The gun was found inside this SUV parked outside a mobile home on Sechler Street in China Grove. Numerous one-pot meth laps were also found.

Rowan County Sheriff’s Office The gun was found inside this SUV parked outside a mobile home on Sechler Street in China Grove. Numerous one-pot meth laps were also found.

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