Lincolnton store owners, employee charged with trafficking drugs

- Three people have been arrested after an investigation revealed they were selling drugs out of a Lincolnton business, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say they searched J&M Discount Variety Store and seized nearly 1.5 pounds of marijuana and more than 70 grams of oxycodone pills, two handguns, drug paraphernalia and more than $13,000 in cash. Detectives also seized a small amount of alprazolam pills.

A K9 officer discovered the marijuana hidden in a cooler. 

Investigators say they learned from undercover surveillance that opioid-based pills and marijuana were being sold from the store by the owners, Mandi Smith and Askari Johnson, and an employee, Kenin Anzalone, during regular operating hours.

Smith, 39, of  Iron Station, NC was charged with one felony count each of Trafficking in Opium or Heroin, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Manufacture Schedule VI, Maintaining a Dwelling/Vehicle for a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Manufacture Schedule II and Felony Possession of a Firearm.  She was also charged with two felony counts of Conspiracy and two misdemeanor counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She is charged with one misdemeanor count of Possession of a Controlled Substance Schedule IV. 

Smith was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

Johnson, 37, of Iron Station, was charged with one felony count each of Trafficking in Opium or Heroin, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Manufacture Schedule VI, Maintaining a Dwelling/Vehicle for a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Manufacture Schedule II and Felony Possession of a Firearm.  He was also charged with two felony counts of Conspiracy and two misdemeanor counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Johnson is charged with one misdemeanor count of Possession of a Controlled Substance Schedule IV. 

Johnson was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond.

Anzalone, 33 of Iron Station, was charged with two felony counts of Conspiracy and one misdemeanor count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. 

She was placed under a $30,000 secured bond.

Detectives say the investigation continues and more charges are likely.  Smith and Johnson stated they were co-owners of the bargain business but they lease the building.  

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