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China Grove mother gets additional charges after drug manufacturing operation found

Tonya Alvarado

SALISBURY — A mother who was serving jail time for two previous charges faces several more charges after detectives discovered a marijuana growing operation last week.

Tonya Raenae Alvarado was already charged with failure to appear and fleeing to elude from Dec. 16. She was arrested after a chase, according to Rowan County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief David Ramsey.

Alvarado, 54, of China Grove, was charged additionally with trafficking methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle for manufacturing a controlled substance, possession of a firearm by a felon, manufacturing controlled substance Schedule VI, possession of drug paraphernalia and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. 

On Jan. 16, Rowan County detectives were alerted that a teen may be living at a Pine Ridge Road residence alone after a parent, Alvarado, was arrested. Rowan County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigative Division detectives responded with the Rowan County Department of Social Services to conduct a welfare check.

The 16-year-old juvenile, who was already on probation, was living alone at the the home for a week, according to the sheriff’s office.

When Rowan County Social Services and a detective arrived, the officer said he saw evidence of drug use and secured the residence.

The detective returned with a search warrant and additional investigators. During the search, detectives discovered 21 marijuana plants growing inside a camper, along with 84 grams of marijuana individually packaged and 44 grams of methamphetamine inside the residence. Detectives seized three handguns, two rifles, a tactical shotgun and an assault rifle.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said the juvenile suspect had possible Latin street gang ties. The suspect was taken into custody and charged as a juvenile.

Alvarado is being held currently at the Rowan County Detention Center under a $95,000 bond. Her next court date is Feb. 12.

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