Frequent drug-store buys lead to meth lab, officials say

May. 23, 2014 @ 08:24 AM

Too many trips to the drug store to buy products containing pseudoephedrine brought investigators Thursday to the man's house on Walt Arney Road, where officials said they found a methamphetamine lab.

Eric Lane Setzer, 44, showed up on a system that alerts pharmacists of frequent purchases of pseudoephedrine products, which often are used in meth production, Detective David Barbour of the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office said. After Setzer made another purchase Wednesday night at the Walgreens on U.S. 321 in Lenoir, detectives obtained a warrant to search his house at 1519 Walt Arney Road.

Thursday morning, officers arrived. Because of the volatile nature of chemicals used to make meth, the Lenoir Fire Department and Caldwell County EMS were on standby as three officers -- one each from the State Bureau of Investigation, Lenoir Police Department and the sheriff's office -- wearing protective suits and masks searched the house.

Brooke Peterkin, who lives two houses down, was shocked to learn someone may have been making meth so close to her home, and also within 100 yards of the nearby Church of Resurrection Hope.

"It's kind of scary, because there's kids all around here," Peterkin said. My stepmom's granddaughter, who is only 2, is here all the time."

Setzer was charged with manufacture of methamphetamine and maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of making meth, Barbour said. His bond was set at $15,000 secured. He is scheduled to appear in Caldwell District Court today.