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SBI and Wake Sheriff Want to Know: Who Mailed Pot Back to Suspect?

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RALEIGH — Police are supposed to be as vigilant with seized evidence as they are with criminals. That's particularly important when the evidence is drugs. But WRAL-TV5 Investigative ReporterStuart Watsonreports that either the SBI or the Wake County Sheriff's Department mailed two pounds of confiscated marijuana back to the man accused of dealing the drugs.

Wake County detectives seized what they said was two pounds of marijuana from a home at 3008 Renee Court in Knightdale on Sept. 12, 1997. Detectives charged 37-year-old Michael Lowery and 37-year-old Cindy Lowery with possession of marijuana for resale.

A sheriff's spokesman says the department's evidence technician hand delivered the evidence to the SBI lab for testing. The SBI's assistant director says the bureau examined the evidence and mailed it back to the sheriff's department on Nov. 23, but the package was delivered to the defendant back in Knightdale.

Michael Lowery, the man charged with possession of the drugs, declined to speak camera, saying it might jeopardize his case. But he told Watson off-camera that the box of evidence was delivered to his doorstep. He says his name was printed on one side in large block letters. On the other side in the window of an envelope was the name of the detective. He says he burned it.

The Sheriff's spokesman says an informant told them Michael Lowery did not destroy the drugs but resold them. Captain Ken Duckworth also says the Wake County officer sent the evidence to the SBI lab wrapped in a plain brown paper, with an evidence slip inside, neither of which contained the defendants name or address.

So how did the package reach the Knightdale address?

"That's what's causing us some concern," said Duckworth. "It's never happened to us before, and in talking to the SBI, it's not happened to them either. We don't know how that could have happened."

The SBI is referring all questions to the sheriff's department, which continues to investigate the missing evidence. The sheriff's office still believes it has a case against Michael and Cindy Lowery, but chances are, they'll hear about the missing evidence from the Lowery's attorney.

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Stuart Watson, Reporter
Lori Foushee, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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