ROCKINGHAM — Crystal Juanita Dellinger and John Ingram Diggs are accused of distributing methamphetamine out of a brick house on Cartledge Creek Road, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators, along with the vice/narcotics unit and strategic response team, served a search warrant on the home Thursday afternoon — following an investigation to complaints the pair was distributing the drug — resulting in the seizure of more than 200 grams of suspected meth.
In addition to the product, investigators say they seized scales and baggies used to package meth.
Investigators say there was no evidence indicating the home was being used to cook meth during the search. And although there were pieces of a plastic playhouse on the front porch, there were no children involved.
Dellinger, 30, and Diggs, 36, both of the home, were arrested and each charged with trafficking methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation and the members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina assisted in the search.
“This seizure and the arrests are a big blow in the right direction to what we are trying to accomplish in Richmond County in getting rid of the meth cooks and distributors,” Richmond County Sheriff James E. Clemmons Jr. said in a statement released Friday.
Dellinger is being held in the Richmond County Jail under a $300,000 secured bond, Diggs under a $275,000 secured bond.
Online court records show Diggs also has several pending charges, including two felony counts of fleeing to elude arrest with a motor vehicle — one in district court, the other in superior court — and a single count of misdemeanor larceny.
Dellinger has no other pending charges in the state, but has been twice convicted of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance in Anson County, according to records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction.
Diggs was convicted in 2012 on a misdemeanor charge of wanton injury to personal property in Union County.
Because meth was becoming a growing problem, the sheriff’s office and the SBI initiated a federal meth conspiracy investigation with former U.S. Attorney Ripley Rand’s office in 2014. Since then, at least 52 people have been indicted on federal meth charges.
This year, Anson county ranked second in the state with 22 busts. Johnston County again had the most discovered labs (33), followed by Anson, Wake (18), Onlsow (17), Gaston (16), Iredell (14), Richmond and Stanly. The other 92 counties across the state had 10 labs or fewer.
So far this year, there have been at least two meth lab busts in Richmond County — both in February.
Investigators with the sheriff’s office say they were looking into drug activity Feb. 5 when they found 35-year-old Christopher Lee Huckabee in possession of lithium, sulfuric acid, ammonium nitrate and sodium hydroxide, which are all precursors.
Huckabee is also accused of having meth at the Richmond County Jail when he was arrested, as well as throwing corrosive acid on a woman, giving her third-degree burns, last month.
Charles Goodwin and Jenna Haire were also recently charged with manufacturing meth after investigators discovered several key ingredients, as well as peudoephedrine.
All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Chief Deputy Mark Gulledge told the Daily Journal last month that investigators are starting to find that meth cooks are going mobile, cooking in vehicles instead of setting up labs inside homes.
“We’re not letting up,” he said. “We’re out still looking for them.”
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.