Crime & Courts

Rowan County man charged in heroin case

Grady Edward Austin Jr.
Grady Edward Austin Jr. Rowan County Sheriff’s Office

A Rowan County man who lives in a home where a person died of a drug overdose last year was arrested Thursday on heroin trafficking charges.

Sheriff’s investigators said they found 10 people in the home, including one injecting heroin and another “in distress,” when they went to arrest Grady “Eddie” Edward Austin Jr., 57.

Austin was found in a locked bedroom with “Mexican brown” and “black tar” heroin in his pants pockets, the sheriff’s office said. Three shotguns and four handguns were found in a closet and a locked safe.

The sheriff’s office said it is notifying the Florida resident who owns the home that it is a public nuisance that could be seized if the drug problem persists.

Authorities said they learned in May that Austin and another person made trips to Charlotte to obtain large amounts of heroin from Mexican drug suppliers. They took the heroin back to the home in the 300 block of Nazareth Home Road in Rockwell to distribute.

The sheriff’s office said Friday that investigators from various agencies received complaints from the public in recent years about heroin and methamphetamine sales and overdoses at the home.

At one point, someone placed signs on telephones poles advertising heroin for sale at the home and listed his telephone number, the sheriff’s office said.

In June of last year, the same month of the overdose death, investigators said they began making undercover buys of heroin and meth from Austin.

Austin was charged with trafficking heroin by possession and felony maintaining a dwelling to keep and sell controlled substances. He was jailed on $2 million bail and faces at least 18 years in prison.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak