Deputies report 'largest ever' drug seizure

Sheriff's deputies from two counties seized 17 pounds of compressed cocaine in what investigators are calling the largest seizure in sheriff's office history.

Lincoln and Catawba county sheriff's deputies assisted Saturday with a drug seizure in Lincolnton, where they discovered more than $250,000 of cocaine in an abandoned vehicle.

Officers were dispatched about 5:30 a.m. Saturday to 1259 Buffalo Shoals Road to investigate a report of "an abandoned and suspicious vehicle," according to a press release from Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies saw evidence of fabricated hidden compartments on the 2004 Jeep Liberty, and a narcotics officer and his K-9 partner were called to investigate the scene. The K-9 performed a free-air sniff of the vehicle and gave a positive alert to indicate the presence of narcotics.

Narcotics officers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, and it was towed to a local garage. Officers located an after-market fabricated hidden compartment in the Jeep Liberty, where about 17 pounds of cocaine was stored in packages.

The cocaine was sent to the Iredell County Sheriff's Office crime lab for analysis and calculation of official weight.

Narcotics officers executed a second warrant for a mobile home located at the same address where the Jeep Liberty was found on Buffalo Shoals Road. Catawba County sheriff's deputies assisted deputies from Lincoln County with a search of the residence. Inside the residence, deputies located a quarter ounce of powder cocaine and a cocaine press.

Deputies also located a hidden compartment inside a false wall of the mobile home. The false wall was connected to a motor that could open and close the compartment automatically.

No arrests have been made in the seizure, but officers identified the owner of the vehicle and renter of the mobile home. Lincoln County Sheriff's Office declined to release any additional information about the incident.

The investigation is ongoing.