Man accused of having stolen guns, police department’s lawnmower, dog on meth


CLINTON, N.C. (WNCN) — A Clinton man is accused of having drugs and stolen guns in his possession, as well as giving his dog methamphetamine, according to a news release from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office.

Matthew Pope, 27, is facing multiple charges following a traffic stop and subsequent search of his vehicle and home.

According to the sheriff’s office, officers with the investigations division conducted a traffic stop on Old Warsaw Road on Tuesday for a traffic violation.

During the stop, agents found a lawnmower being towed by Pope that had been reported stolen by the Clinton Police Department.

“A probable search was conducted of the vehicle and approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine, 31 dosage units of Oxycodone Hydrochloride, 80 dosage units of Alprazolam, approximately 21 grams of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia were located,” officials said.

As a result of the search, Pope was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine, possession with intent to sell and deliver a Schedule IV controlled substance, possession with intent to sell and deliver a Schedule II controlled substance, possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of stolen property.

He was issued a $25,000 secured bond on the charges and placed in the Sampson County Detention Center.

Investigators continued to look into the case and were led to Pope’s home in the 1800-block of Old Warsaw Road where they then conducted a search, the sheriff’s office said.

During the search, investigators discovered a variety of illegal items.

According to the sheriff’s office, they found “12 firearms (one stolen, one converted into a weapon of mass destruction, and one with the serial number removed), methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and numerous items determined to be stolen (boat, trailers, chain saws, motorcycle).”

The investigation stretched into the night and again on Wednesday morning due to how many stolen items they found spread throughout Pope’s property, authorities said.

In addition to the stolen items and drugs found on the property, animal control officers came to the home due to a dog “acting aggressive and exhibiting strange behavior,” officials said. Animal control took possession of the dog and then determined that the dog had methamphetamine in its system.

Pope was given “additional charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a weapon of mass destruction by a convicted felon, alter/remove/destroy gun serial number, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a weapon of mass destruction.”

Following the additional charges, Pope’s bond was bumped up to $130,000 secured.

His first court appearance is set for Friday in Clinton. The investigation is ongoing.

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