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Pair charged with drug possession after drugs found in car they claimed to test drive

SALISBURY — A man and woman were charged with drug possession after drugs were found in a vehicle they claimed to be test-driving, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said a new K-9 was instrumental in the arrests.

Deputies were dispatched to the area of Peeler Road on Tuesday after a report of illegal drug activity.

Lt. Randy St. Clair and other deputies stopped a vehicle on Webb Road, just off Old Concord Road.

The blue Honda with tinted windows had a license plate that was registered to a Nissan. The driver of the Honda was identified as Daniel Lee Walker, 36, of the 3200 block of Morgan Road, Gold Hill.

Walker said initially that he was test-driving the Honda.

Misty Dawn Clonch, 31, of the 3000 block of Leonard Road, was a passenger in the car.

While deputies were trying to identify the registered owner of the Honda, Sgt. Justin Nelson arrived with his K-9 partner, Rex.

Rex sniffed the vehicle’s exterior and gave a positive indication of drugs in the vehicle. Deputies asked Clonch to get out of the vehicle and conducted a pat-down search.

Walker was removed from the vehicle, and deputies quickly noticed a handgun lying on the car seat under his leg.

After Walker and Clonch were secured, deputies searched the vehicle. They found a glass pipe commonly used to smoke narcotics beside the passenger seat and two small, partially smoked marijuana cigarettes in the ashtray, authorities said.

They also found a clear glass cylinder, about 2 inches tall, containing a crystal-like substance inside the passenger door.

Behind the passenger seat, they found a dark-colored cinch bag that contained a large amount of marijuana, several sets of digital scales, a second handgun that had been disassembled, and a small black bag that contained several individual baggies, authorities said.

Deputies charged Walker with carrying a concealed weapon; possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a controlled substance; felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a controlled substance; simple possession of a controlled substance; maintaining a vehicle to store a controlled substance; and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Walker was issued a $50,000 secured bond and placed in the Rowan County Detention Center.

Clonch was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was given a $1,500 secured bond and placed in the Rowan County Detention Center.

The Sheriff’s Office purchased K-9 Rex earlier this year with money from donations by Rowan County residents after the unexpected death of K-9 Ike in August 2017.

Sheriff Kevin Auten said he is again thankful to the people who made donations toward the purchase of Rex.

The arrests are just one of several recent incidents in which Rex has been instrumental in assisting the Sheriff’s Office, he said.

“The funds donated by Rowan County citizens have been spent wisely for a very hardworking K-9 that will be with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office for years to come,” Auten said.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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