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Originally published: 2012-03-17 15:50:55
Last modified: 2012-03-17 16:00:53

Joint investigation nets 5 arrests

by Staff Reports

On March 15, officers from the Watauga County Sheriff's Office Special Operations Unit, the Boone Police Department Narcotics Unit, the NC State Bureau of Investigation and Federal Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested five suspects stemming from a coordinated federal, state and local narcotics investigation.

Barbara Raynette Tester, 30, of Bubba Drive Zionsville, N.C.; Mark Lee Nations, 48, of Summer Drive, Boone; Amanda Nicole Coffey, 29, of Sampson Road, Boone; Joseph Alan Coffey, 35, of Sampson Road, Boone and Christopher Edward Baird, 25, of Meat Camp Road, Boone were charged with two counts each of possession of immediate precursor chemicals with Intent to manufacture methamphetamine and two counts each of possession or distribution of an immediate precursor chemical knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, that the immediate precursor chemical will be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

All suspects were placed under a $25,000 bond and given a court date of June 28. The investigation is still ongoing and more arrests are expected.

This arrests are an example of the recent installation of the NPLEx “real-time electronic logging system” used by pharmacies in South Carolina, Tennessee and North Carolina to track sales of over-the-counter cold and allergy medications which contain precursor to the illegal drug, methamphetamine.

North Carolina went “live” with the system on Jan. 1.

All pharmacies in Watauga are participating in the NPLEx system. Hundreds of sales have been stopped by the system in Watauga County, authorities reported.