‘Major’ NC drug dealer arrested

Grady "Eddie" Austin Jr. called a "major drug dealer."

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) – A man referred to as a ‘major’ supplier of illegal drugs in the area has been arrested after an undercover operation and a raid on a home in eastern Rowan County.

Grady Edward “Eddie” Austin Jr, 57, is being held in jail under a bond of $2 million. He is charged with trafficking heroin by possession and maintaining a dwelling for the drug trade.

Austin was arrested Thursday night after a raid on a home on Nazareth Home Road off highway 52 in eastern Rowan County.

Law enforcement officials say they have received complaints for several years about drug sales and overdoses at the home. The Sheriff’s Office said that someone actually placed signs on telephone poles advertising that heroin was for sale at the residence, and gave a phone number.

On March 2, 2013, the Sheriff’s Office responded to a drug overdose at the residence and that person survived. On June 30, 2015, deputies responded to another overdose at the home and the person died. The Sheriff’s Office said there have been other overdoses at the residence which were not reported to law enforcement.

Investigators describe Austin as one of the biggest suppliers of heroin in Rowan County and say they have been building a case against Austin for nearly a year.

In June 2015, the undercover deputies began making controlled purchases of heroin and methamphetamine from Austin. In May, the Sheriff’s Office learned that Austin and another person were making trips to Charlotte to buy large amounts of heroin from Mexican nationals and were distributing it from the Nazareth Home Rd. residence.

The Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT) raided the home Thursday. Deputies say they found ten people inside the home with at least one actively injecting heroin. They found Austin locked in a bedroom where they say they found about 47 grams of “Mexican Brown” and “Black Tar” heroin in Austin’s pants pocket.

Deputies found used and unused needles, three shotguns, four handguns, as well as cash and other drugs.

“There were actually people in the residence shooting heroin at the time we made entry,” Chief David Ramsey said. “I actually found one individual with a needle in his arm.”

Chief Deputy Ramsey told WBTV that while the home was being searched Thursday, neighbors drove by and thanked officers for their efforts.

The Sheriff’s Office says the home is owned by a Florida resident who is being notified that the residence is considered a public nuisance and could be seized if the situation persists.

Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies, SBI, and the Salisbury Police Department cooperated in the case. More arrests are expected.

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