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Mexican vacation ends with arrest at Charlotte airport

It wasn’t exactly “home sweet home” when Marc Delane Hodges flew back into Charlotte on Sunday from a weeklong vacation with his girlfriend in Mexico.

When the plane landed, a federal marshal got on board and arrested Hodges while he was still sitting in his first-class seat.

Caldwell County authorities say that while Hodges was enjoying himself in Cozumel, agents raided his apartment and found what they say was a methamphetamine lab.

Hodges, 50, who worked as a teacher assistant in the Caldwell County Schools, faces a number of drug-related charges.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office says its agents, along with Hudson police, had suspicions about Hodges’ activities after sifting through household trash he had discarded and allegedly finding precursor chemicals and paraphernalia needed to make meth. Agents said they also had been watching Hodges because of several purchases he had made of ephedrine products at area stores.

So agents received a search warrant and, joined by an SBI lab team, searched Hodges’ residence at the Winter Hill Court Apartments in Hudson last Wednesday, while the suspect was on vacation in Mexico.

Authorities say they found and seized additional precursor chemicals. In addition, they say, agents seized the suspect’s 2002 BMW.

Hodges was charged with one felony count each of manufacturing methamphetamine; possession of methamphetamine precursor chemicals; and maintaining a dwelling to keep or store a controlled substance.

He is jailed under $150,000 bond and has an initial court appearance Tuesday in Lenoir.

“This was a very volatile situation,” Sheriff Alan Jones said, referring to Hodges’ alleged activities in an apartment. “He not only put himself in extreme danger, but the lives and safety of the other tenants in the duplex.”

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