Nags Head animal hospital owners charged with trafficking heroin, opium

Posted at 10:23 AM, Feb 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 11:44:15-05

Nags Head, N.C. – The owners of the Animal Hospital of Nags Head are facing felony charges of trafficking in opium or heroin.

The Dare County Narcotics Task Force and the Nags Head Police Department searched the animal hospital and the home of Barrett Welch, 64, and Patrice Welch, 54, on Sunrise Lane in Colington, North Carolina.

The search came after allegations that the couple were inappropriately prescribing, obtaining and misusing prescription medications.

Barrett and Patrice Welch were not present when the animal hospital was searched, but the hospital staff cooperated with the investigation.

Patrice Welch was present at the search of their home on Sunrise Lane and also cooperated with law enforcement.

The couple turned themselves into the Dare County Dentition Center on February 8.

Barrett Welch was also charged with felony obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or forgery. He was released on a $15,000 secured and $10,000 unsecured bond.

Patrice Welch  was released on a $10,000 secured bond.

The investigation is ongoing and could lead to more charges.