Former teacher assistant convicted of meth charges

Apr. 02, 2014 @ 08:08 AM

Not everyone buys thousands of matchbooks.

But Marc Delane Hodges, 51, at the time a teacher assistant at Caldwell Career Center Middle College, kept coming into a local store and buying large amounts of matchbooks, as well as liquid peroxide, prosecutors said. The peroxide and the material that makes up the tips of matches are often used in making methamphetamine, so someone became suspicious and on Feb. 27, 2013, tipped off the Caldwell County Sheriff's Department.

Hodges pleaded guilty Monday to running a meth lab out of his Hudson apartment. He was convicted of felony manufacturing of methamphetamine, felony maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and felony possession of methamphetamine precursor chemicals. He was sentenced to 58 to 82 months (just under 5 years to just under 7 years) in prison.

A few weeks after the tip that put Hodges under suspicion, Hudson police were called April 3 to Winterhill Court, where Hodges lived, because of items found in two black plastic garbage bags, prosecutors said. Investigators determined that the bags contained items and ingredients needed to make methamphetamine -- and receipts bearing Hodges' name. In a subsequent search of his apartment, meth ingredients also were found, prosecutors said.

Hodges was not at his apartment at the time it was searched -- he was on a week-long vacation to Cozumel, Mexico, with his girlfriend.

Hodges was arrested April 7 as he was sitting in a first-class seat on a plane after it arrived at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. The next day, he as fired by Caldwell County Schools.