Rowan man sentenced in federal firearms case

A Rowan County man whose arrest in May triggered a lockdown at an elementary school has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison after being convicted in a federal firearms case, authorities said.

Barry Ray Howard, 58, was sentenced late last month to nine years, four months in federal prison. He was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Howard was the subject of an investigation by county, state and federal officials last spring. On May 15, officers executed a search warrant at his home on Meadowcreek Drive near China Grove. That police activity caused a lockdown at nearby Millbridge Elementary School.

During the search, officers said they found five handguns, two rifles, a shotgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. They also reported finding hundreds of dosage units of prescription pain-killing medication.

During the investigation, officers said, undercover agents bought large amounts of oxymorphone and other drugs from Howard. Investigators said agents also bought a handgun from Howard, with the serial number rubbed out.

Agents said they found $5,000 in a safe deposit box at a bank in Landis.

Court records show Howard has a number of convictions in Rowan and Cabarrus counties on drug, larceny and assault charges.