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Kannapolis teacher charged with trafficking in heroin or opium

Charged

Elizabeth Marie Lanier

David Anthony Ewing

Johnathan Mathew Gray

Malik Daquan Caldwell

Meredith Dawn Sain

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

KANNAPOLIS — A Kannapolis teacher was charged with conspiracy to traffic in heroin or opium just days after she was robbed at gunpoint while trying to buy prescription pills.

Elizabeth Marie Lanier, 35, of 429 Pleasant Ave., Kannapolis, remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond.

Kannapolis school officials said Monday that Lanier is an exceptional children’s teacher at A.L. Brown High School. School officials said they are processing paperwork for Lanier’s suspension.

The Kannapolis Police Department said that at 8:45 p.m. July 17, it received a report about a person with a gun in the area of Brookdale Street and North Cannon Boulevard.

Officers discovered that David Anthony Ewing of Kannapolis had been involved in an armed robbery.

Investigators said Ewing and Malik Daquan Caldwell met Lanier and Johnathan Mathew Gray at 940 N. Ridge Ave. under the guise of selling prescription pills to them. Lanier and Gray were robbed a gunpoint by Ewing and Caldwell, officials said.

Authorities say Meredith Dawn Sain was involved in setting up the drug deal.

The five all face felony drug charges.

• Ewing, 19, of 5839 Miller Road, Kannapolis, was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon; possession of a stolen firearm; possession of a weapon of mass destruction — a gun that was altered; selling or delivering a Schedule II controlled substance; and simple possession of marijuana. He remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.

• Caldwell, 21, 191 N. Church St., Concord, was charged with conspiracy to traffic in heroin or opium; robbery with a dangerous weapon; and possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana. He remains in the county jail under a $100,000 secured bond.

• Sain, 36, of 202 E. 10th St., Kannapolis, was charged with felony conspiracy to traffic in heroin or opium; robbery with a dangerous weapon; and possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana. She remains in the Rowan County jail without bond.

• Gray, 27, of 429 Pleasant Ave, Kannapolis, was charged with felony conspiracy to traffic in heroin or opium. He remains in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond.

It’s not clear the connection between Gray and Lanier, but they share the same address. Police officials said they could not release details about how many pills were being sold.

Kannapolis City Schools hired Elizabeth Lanier on Feb. 18, 2014.

“We are working closely with the police as we do our investigation,” said Ellen Boyd, director of community relations for the school system.

Boyd said as soon as school officials found out about the arrest from Kannapolis police, they began processing Lanier’s suspension.

“Obviously we don’t tolerate the kind of behavior outlined in the charges,” Boyd said.

She said the school system does complete state and federal background checks and conducts extensive reference checks when hiring employees. The school system checks crime databases daily to make sure no employees have been charged with a crime.

“It’s disappointing when something like this happens despite the safeguards that are put in place,” Boyd said.

She added that the school system will take immediate action to do what’s best for students and staff, and she said school officials are grateful for the work of the Kannapolis Police Department.

Post reporter Rebecca Rider contributed to this story.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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