July 1, 2013. On the morning of June 23, the Avery County Sheriff’s Office received information about possible manufacturing of methamphetamine on Banner Elk Highway. Officers of the Avery County Sheriff’s Office assisted by an officer of the Newland Police Department responded to the area and located Johnny Hughes, 52, and Patricia Clark, 39, of Banner Elk Highway. Officers searched the residence and located evidence of a methamphetamine lab. Hughes and Clark were both charged with three felony drug charges including manufacturing meth, possession of precursor chemicals and possession of meth. Hughes and Clark were both arrested and placed in the Avery County Jail under bond of $15,000.00 each.
Later in the morning hours of the June 23, the Avery County Sheriff’s Office received information about another meth lab on Shug Lane in Elk Park. Officers of Avery County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report to investigate. While at the location investigating the report James Cook, 25, drove up to their location. Officers noticed a strong odor of alcohol about Mr. Cook and other indicators of impairment. Cook was arrested for DWI and during a search of Mr. Cook Officers located prescription drugs illegally possessed by Mr. Cook. Mr. Cook was charged with DWI and Aggravated Possession of a Controlled Substance. Cook was placed in the Avery County Jail under an $11,000 bond.
On June 24, the Avery County Sheriff’s Office received information on the theft of a wallet containing the victim’s ID card and financial transaction cards. Later investigators received information that Lori Hughes, 48, of Mollies Branch Rd was attempting to rent a car in Boone using the victim’s ID and financial transaction cards. Officers with the Boone Police Department responded to a business on N.C. 105 and located Ms. Hughes where she was attempting to use those cards. Officers with the Boone Police Department charged Ms. Hughes with one felony count of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses. Investigators with the Avery Sheriff’s Office also charged Ms. Hughes with obtaining property by false pretenses. Hughes received a $4,000 bond at the Watauga County Jail based on the two charges. Investigators with the Avery County Sheriff’s Office have numerous reports of the victim’s financial transaction cards being used in Avery County. Investigators with the sheriff’s office anticipate several more felony charges.