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Man known as ‘The Chemist’ arrested after meth lab bust in Rowan County

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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — A man known as “The Chemist” was arrested in Rowan County after crystal methamphetamine was found in his vehicle and a meth lab was found at his home.

Thomas David Martinez, 27, of 1002 Locke Street, Salisbury, is known by investigators as “The Chemist” and reportedly has a chemistry background.

Deputies received a tip on Nov. 4 that Martinez was traveling in a red Pontiac with meth and a pistol in his possession, according to a press release.

Martinez was searched and deputies found 29 grams of crystal methamphetamine and a loaded 9-millimeter handgun.

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), including personnel from the Southern Piedmont Office and the Clandestine Laboratory Response Team, and the Salisbury Police Department, then executed a search warrant at Martinez’ apartment.

Investigators found a meth lab in a closet in Martinez’ apartment. The methamphetamine that Martinez was producing was made using a process known as a “red-p cook”, referring to red phosphorous. This method is extremely dangerous and is rarely seen in this part of North Carolina, officials say.

Martinez was charged with possession with intent to sell methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine by possession, trafficking methamphetamine by transportation, trafficking methamphetamine by manufacture, manufacture of methamphetamine, two counts of possession of meth precursor chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of concealed weapon.

Investigators later discovered that Martinez had rented a storage unit at 1730 W. Jake Alexander Blvd., in Salisbury, where an additional methamphetamine lab was housed.

Authorities seized a one-pot or “shake and bake” method that is more commonly found in this area, the “red-p” method, and an older, rarely ever seen method known as “p-2-p.”

Martinez was placed under a $250,000 secured bond.

Additional charges are pending against Martinez.