Pastor, Son Arrested As Church Transforms into Secret Drug Lab

Police Officer

Before the pandemic, Lexington's South Side Baptist Church had already ceased operations. Recently, the authorities have been tipped off that the chapel is currently utilized as a drug laboratory. After further investigation, it was determined that the illegal conduct was being facilitated by a pastor and his son, who were both subsequently detained due to these findings.

Church Turns Into Drug Lab

On Sunday, May 28, an ongoing investigation into illegal substances in Davidson County, North Carolina, led police to Southside Baptist Church, Live News 5 reported. They arrived at the Baptist Church in Lexington after receiving reports that a man staying at the church was manufacturing marijuana, according to a press release. The clergyman told the officers that the house of worship had not been open and had stopped its operation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, former members claimed to the investigators that the pastor had shuttered the parish before the pandemic started. As a result of the additional investigation, the property was inspected by the deputies, and they found approximately 20 marijuana plants, roughly two pounds of tetrahydrocannabinol wax, also known as THC wax, around 12 pounds of marijuana, and approximately 32 grams of psilocybin mushrooms.

Moreover, members of the congregation identified the pastor as Josh Price, who is 50 years old, and his son Matthew Price, who is 28. Both men were taken into custody for their suspected involvement in the drug operation. As per The Dispatch, both of the suspects have been charged with the criminal offense of manufacturing marijuana, transporting marijuana, possession with the purpose to manufacture, sell, or distribute a Schedule VI (THC wax) controlled substance, and the felony offense of keeping a place of residence to sell or distribute of a controlled substance on three separate counts. They also face charges with felony possession to produce, market, or send a Schedule I drug known as psilocybin mushrooms and misdemeanor possession of marijuana paraphernalia. On the other hand, each individual required a surety bond of $20,000. The initial judicial hearing for each is set for Tuesday, July 25.

Also Read:Church Volunteers Highlight ‘Truths About Drugs,’ Brings Drug Education, Prevention Campaign

Former Church Members' Response to the Criminal Activities Inside the Church

Based on an article from USA Today, Mike Lambeth, a previously known member of the church, asserted that he had attempted to warn the congregation about Josh Price when he first arrived at the church three years ago. "I met him one time, and our spirits didn't bear witness at all, and I did not think he was a pastor, and I told a lot of the members there, 'y'all better watch out for him,'" Lambeth explained. Furthermore, WFMY2 News reported that the church that Leon Little went to, Southside, is also where his parents are laid to rest. 

As mentioned, when Price explained to the law enforcement officers that the religious institution had been shuttered since COVID, Little told them something different. "They actually closed the doors, the church was down to five members, and four of those was his family," he claimed. The former member also stated that he and his family left the denomination a few years ago after the church members chose Pastor Price as their leader instead of his father. Right after Prince took over the congregation, people started reporting strange occurrences. Little reportedly had conversations with a few other members, and they all share the same sentiment.

Related Article:Pastor James Edward Smith II, Convicted for Allegedly Selling New Jerusalem Baptist Church for $600K to Support Drug Habit