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Search Warrant Gives New Insight into Fatal Drug Raid

A search warrant returned Tuesday gives new insight into why investigators suspect a man was manufacturing and selling marijuana out of his home.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Authorities seized 43 marijuana plants, among other items, from the Raleigh house where a man was shot to death as Wake County deputies served a search warrant on him.

The search warrant returned Tuesday by the Wake County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board gives new insight into why investigators suspect Stephen Scott Thornton, 45, was manufacturing and selling marijuana out of his Alpine Drive home.

Acting on a tip, investigators put the house under surveillance on Jan. 3 and found remnants of marijuana and marijuana plant stems in trash containers on the street curb by the driveway.

Investigators also seized more than 79 other items, including bags of marijuana, chemical lights and other equipment used to grow and sell marijuana, "marijuana-growing" magazines, VHS tapes entitled "Frontline: War on Marijuana" and "Pot of Gold," nearly $2,000 in currency and two bottles of controlled prescription medication under the name Scott Monaco.

Thornton was shot inside his home Friday while more than a dozen law enforcement officers served the warrant. He died at WakeMed a few hours later.

Sgt. Ronnie Byrd, 37, a member of the Wake County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team, was shot in the leg.

"We did make a forced entry into the house. Shots were fired," Sheriff Donnie Harrison said Friday.

Harrison declined to say how the shooting unfolded – who fired first and whether Thornton had been shot by a deputy.

The State Bureau of Investigation is handling the shooting case. Search warrants related to it have not been released.

Thornton, who also went by the name Scott Monaco, was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service in Texas on drug and firearms charges, and a full extradition order was in place to return him to the Dallas area upon arrest.

On a Web site called "Texans for Medical Marijuana," a person claiming to be Thornton wrote he was a cancer patient and used marijuana for medical purposes to deal with pain.

He also wrote he provided marijuana to cancer patients for the same purpose with cancer for the same purpose.


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