Friday, 01 November 2019 15:19

3 more charged in Ellerbe hemp theft

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Aaron Ladd, left, Tyler Beal and Chris Lemons are accused of helping steal thousands of hemp plants in August. Aaron Ladd, left, Tyler Beal and Chris Lemons are accused of helping steal thousands of hemp plants in August.

ELLERBE — Two more men and one woman have been charged in connection to the theft of more than 6,000 industrial hemp plants in August.

According to court documents, investigators with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office were notified Aug. 10 of the theft from a field on Haywood Cemetery Road.

The plants, reportedly stolen between Aug. 3 and 10 were estimated to have a retail value of $1.63 million, according to warrants.

Tryon Campbell Evans, 24, and his father, 44-year-old Victor Brian Evans were initially charged with stealing the plants and a trail camera.

Tryon Evans, who was already in the Richmond County Jail on unrelated charges, was served on Oct. 10. Victor Evans, who has been in the Anson County Jail since Aug. 18, was served with warrants Oct. 12.

On Oct. 22, investigators received information that the hemp plants were seen in a home on McArthur Drive, according to a search warrant affidavit. They later received a video showing the larceny in progress and another showing them inside the kitchen area of a home.

Investigators said they were able to identify 29-year-old Christopher Lee Watson Lemons and 24-year-old Aaron Dean Ladd as suspects from the first video. Further evidence allegedly linked 20-year-old Tyler Brooke Beal to the crime.

The three, who all live on McArthur Drive, were arrested and charged Oct. 25. Beal was released the same day, but investigators obtained a search warrant for her phone, which was executed Oct. 29, according to court documents.

They are each charged with two counts of larceny of ungathered crops and one count of misdemeanor larceny.

Lemons is charged with an additional count of possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana. He booked in the Richmond County Jail under a $25,000 secured bond.

Ladd faces an additional charge of possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) on jail premises and was served 10-28 with a warrant for a misdemeanor probation violation.

He received a 12-month suspended sentence on Sept. 12 for a misdemeanor breaking and entering conviction, according to records with the N.C. Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction. Ladd was jailed on a combined $55,000 secured bond.

Both Lemons and Ladd were released on bail Friday, jail records show.

All three defendants are scheduled to appear in court Nov. 7, along with Victor Evans, according to online court records. Tryon Evans was scheduled to appear in court Thursday. His next appearance is scheduled for Dec. 5.

Court records show Ladd has several pending traffic citations in Scotland County.

In addition to his September conviction, Ladd was convicted in 2013 of assault on a child, state records show.

Tyler was convicted in 2015 of damage to property in Mecklenburg County.

Lemons has no previous convictions.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Last modified on Friday, 01 November 2019 16:13