Crime & Courts

Rowan man arrested on federal firearms charge

A Rowan County man was arrested on a federal firearms charge Thursday after local, state and federal agents conducted a search of a residence near China Grove, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

The police activity forced the lockdown of nearby Millbridge Elementary School.

Detectives said that during the investigation, they were able to buy large amounts of Oxymorphone and other drugs from Barry Ray Howard, 58. In addition, they said they were able to buy a .38-caliber handgun with the serial number wiped out.

About 11 a.m. Thursday, agents from the sheriff’s office, the SBI, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of Homeland Security searched a residence in the 1100 block of Meadowcreek Drive near China Grove.

Investigators said they found five handguns, a rifle, two shotguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition inside. Detectives said they were concerned about finding explosives in the house, but none were there.

The sheriff’s office said agents also found hundreds of doses of prescription pain medication.

Howard had been charged on May 2 by the federal government with possession of a firearm by a felon, in connection with the sale of the .38-caliber handgun. He was taken into custody Thursday and made an initial appearance in a federal court in Greensboro, investigators said.