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January 27, 2012 

Drug Bust Leads to Discovery of Small Child Left by Mother

Ernest Earl Lathren, Jr., 58, of 5167 Deer Park Drive, Morganton, NC has been arrested and charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver schedule II (methamphetamine).

On Friday, January 27, 2012, members of the Burke County Narcotics Task Force, along with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, went to 5167 Deer Park Drive to follow up on complaints of possible drug activity.
After approximately twenty-five minutes of trying to make contact with someone inside the residence, someone answered the door.
After speaking with the occupants of the residence, investigators learned that there was over a half pound of methamphetamine, marijuana, prescription medication, a firearm, and three children inside the home.
The youngest child was determined to be approximately one year old. Investigators were advised that the child's mother was at a doctors appointment.
After further questioning, investigators learned that the one year old child had been dropped off at the residence one week ago. The occupants of the residence only knew the child and mother's first names. They also told investigators that the mother of the child was in South Carolina.
The Burke County Department of Social Services was contacted and came to the residence and placed the two middle school aged children with another family member, and the one year old was placed into protective custody.
The investigation into the true identity of the child and her mother is continuing.
Lathren was taken into custody and placed in the Burke County Jail under a $20,000.00 secured bond. First court appearance is scheduled for January 30, 2012.
Additional arrests and charges are pending in this case.
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