NC man arrested in Roan Mountain after officers find $35,000 in meth in his vehicle

By Abby Morris

Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   A North Carolina man was arrested on Wednesday in Roan Mountain and charged with possession of Schedule II narcotics after a traffic stop when officers found a large amount of the drug methamphetamine in the vehicle he was driving.
   According to reports, Carter County Sheriff's Department Inv. Todd Hamm conducted a traffic stop on a 1998 purple Toyota Tacoma on Highway 19E. Agents of the First Judicial Drug Task Force responded and assisted in the traffic stop.
   The driver of the vehicle, Joel Ray Hodge, 690 Birchfield Creek Road, Cranberry, N.C., was arrested and charged with possession of Schedule II narcotics (methamphetamine) for resale.
   According to the report by Hamm, "Agent (Thomas) Smith asked Mr. Hodge if there was anything illegal in the vehicle and Mr. Hodge became very evasive and appeared to be very nervous." The report further states that Hodge advised officers that the vehicle belonged to his sister and he did not know if there was anything illegal in it.
   At that time, officers asked Hodge for permission to search the vehicle and he gave his consent. "Mr. Hodge went to the driver's side and opened the door on the vehicle and reached into the console and pulled a small plastic bag containing an off-white powder out," the report states. "Agent (Greg) Workman was standing at the passenger side of the vehicle and saw a larger plastic bag containing an off-white powder in plain view. Agent Workman took possession of this bag."
   Agents then conducted a field test at the scene using a Reagent 923 field test kit and the off-white powder in both bags gave a positive result for methamphetamine. After testing the substance, agents then weighed the bags. The contents weighed approximately 15 grams. The methamphetamine has an approximate street value of $35,000 according to other law enforcement value approximations of methamphetamine.
   Hodge was then taken into custody and transported to the Carter County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on May 5.