2 arrested in meth lab bust in Union Co. - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

2 arrested in meth lab bust in Union Co.

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Rodger Christopher Oxendine. Mug shot courtesy: Stallings Police Department Rodger Christopher Oxendine. Mug shot courtesy: Stallings Police Department
Walter Anthony Sowards. Mug shot courtesy: Stallings Police Department Walter Anthony Sowards. Mug shot courtesy: Stallings Police Department

STALLINGS, NC (WBTV) - Police in Stallings have arrested two men who officers say were making meth in the shed beside their suburban-area home.

Authorities say it's the first meth lab bust in the history of Stallings.  They also say meth-making appears to be rising fast both in Union and much of the rest of the state.

The home was at 4701 Stevens Mill Road in Stallings.  It's right next to the middle-class Millstone Estates subdivision.

Two people were arrested, Rodger Christopher Oxendine and Walter Anthony Sowards.  According to a police report, officers found Oxendine and Sowards in the lab.  The two men were decontaminated by the Monroe Fire Department Hazmat Team with the Stallings Fire Department.

Police and neighbors say one of the arrested men, who neighbors say was named "Tony," lived at the house with his two daughters.

Police say since meth labs are known to blow up and contain hazardous materials, allowing children to live and play right near the shed was extremely dangerous.

But neighbors say it wasn't only the suspect's own daughters who were put in danger.

"There's a lot of kids that played over there," said Millstone Estates resident Jarod Kesner, who's backyard ends not far from where the house and suspected meth lab are.

According to police, a search warrant was executed at the residence and 3 shotguns were seized along with controlled substances and ammo. The SBI Meth Lab clean –up team took charge of the actual lab entry and clean up.

DSS was called and is assisting in the investigation due to the fact that small children resided in the residence.

Kesner says his own kids used to play on a trampoline at the house.  He had no idea they were so close to a dangerous meth lab.

"It's pretty upsetting," said Millstone Estates resident Leon McLean.  "Actually it's more disappointing to know that he would risk not only his kids, but the safety and wellness of the neighborhood kids."

The Union County sheriff's office and Stallings Police worked together on the bust.

Both men were placed in the Union County Jail and have a first appearance date of 05/04/11. Rodger Oxedine received a $100,000 secured bond and Walter Sowards received a $150,000 secured bond.

The sheriff's office says this is the fifth meth lab bust in Union County this year.  That's already more than Union had all of last year.

Authorities say meth lab busts appear to be on the rise all over the state.

A few years ago, it appeared most meth-making had gone to Mexico, but that appears to be changing.

"It's obviously back," said Stallings police chief Mike Dummett.  "It's getting too difficult to bring it back into the country once you make it somewhere else."

Dummett said he expects more and more meth lab busts in North Carolina in the future.

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