Authorities make massive meth bust, two arrested

(Courtesy: Carter Rabil)

February 23, 2012 3:47:50 PM PST
The Johnston County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that a domestic violence warrant led deputies to one of the largest methamphetamine busts in Johnston County history.

It began when officers attempted to stop 41-year-old Allen Ray Best's vehicle to serve the warrant. They said he refused to pull over, and a short chase began. It ended not far from Best's home on Brogden Rd. - east of Interstate 95 near Smithfield.

Click here to see a location of the area

When they caught up with Best and his passenger - 21-year-old James Michael Cook - deputies said they found meth and chemicals used to make the illegal drug.

At Best's home and in an abandoned building, deputies seized around 70 vessels used to produce the drug and other equipment.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said the operation was capable of producing pounds of methamphetamine.

Officials said the dangerous manufacturing chemicals will cost taxpayers at least $10,000 to clean up. They said it was their fifth meth lab bust since January.

"It's becoming a huge problem," Johnston County Sheriff's Department Capt. Alex Fish said. "The biggest part of it is for the taxpayers, footing the bill for all the cleanups - that's huge."

And the age difference between the suspects is also part of the problem.

"It takes one person to teach another how to cook meth," Fish said. "By the time we catch that one he's taught several how to cook meth by the time we get them into the court system.. they've had a chance to teach even more people how to cook meth."

To stop the vicious cycle, authorities are calling for tougher laws to prosecute first time offenders.

Meanwhile, Best and Cook face a range of charges that include manufacturing meth. They made their first court appearance Thursday morning.

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