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Johnston sheriff wants tougher punishments for meth labs

Posted February 23, 2012

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— Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said Thursday that methamphetamine labs are on the rise in his county and that harsher punishments are needed to reverse the trend.

The county has seen five meth lab busts in the past two months, he said. On Wednesday, deputies busted up the largest lab in the county's recent history.

Allen Ray Best Jr., 41, and James Cook, 22, were arrested in Wednesday's raid of Best's home at 8694 Brogden Road, a building behind the home and at an empty store about a mile away.

"It's a felony to manufacture meth, and we need to see the prosecution aggressively going forward and the courts saying we want to prosecute this," Bizzell said. "And upon conviction, we need to see judges setting sentences and fines that sting."

Bizzell said deputies are reporting that they are seeing repeat offenders. The courts, he said, need to do a better job of putting offenders in prison and keeping them there.

Stronger laws enacted three years ago helped decrease meth labs, Bizzell said, but criminals have learned how to work the system and the labs are back on the rise.

"We need some fines, and we need some sentencing that sends a message back to the street," he said.

Sheriff wants tougher punishments for meth labs Sheriff wants tougher punishments for meth labs

Bizzell, the district attorney and State Bureau of Investigation plan to meet next week to see how they can work together to end what Bizzell calls an epidemic.

"We’re going to be looking at how we can work together to aggressively pursue and prosecute those that are manufacturing meth," he said. "If they don’t manufacture it, there’s none to buy. It cuts it off."

Johnston County prosecutors say they are working hard to prosecute meth lab cases but that there isn't always enough evidence to pursue the charge with the harshest penalty.

"We are very aware of these types of cases," Johnston County Assistant District Attorney Adren Harris said. "We understand how serious they are."

Bizzell said he also plans to talk with the county attorney to see if his office can place a lien on properties where meth labs are found to help pay for clean-up.

The cost can be expensive for taxpayers. Wednesday's bust, Bizzell said, is estimated to cost up to $10,000.

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  • ladyblue Feb 24, 2012

    Well it's about time they punish the criminals instead of restricting the medications the people with allergies need to purchase OTC. Now if they'd just go after the dope coming into america from our borders we'd have it made. It seems the most of the dope in america is from overseas and not manufactured here. That is one of the reasons CA finally decided to go legal with Marijuana and get in on the tax money from it ...

  • sunshineonmyshoulder Feb 24, 2012

    Ok...JoCoQueen...not this one...:)

  • JoCoGrl Feb 24, 2012

    Good job JoCoSO!

  • barbstillkickin Feb 24, 2012

    Way to go Johnston Sheriff sure wish Wake County would do the same. These meth labs are killing our children and it needs to stop. Please if you even think something is going on call the cops. If we do not stop this more innocent lives will be lost. We are losing to many children as it is with car wrecks and suicides. Stop the meth it kills very fast.

  • bitemedoughboy Feb 24, 2012

    I thought it was official yesterday, but I was wrong. It's official today...the campaigning for the upcoming election is in full swing here (JoCo) now.

    Sorry sunshine, you don't know what you're talking about. This bust has nothing to do with elections or politics. Not this one.

  • ivegotone Feb 24, 2012

    offenders being placed on probation. they violate prob. they r sent to jail for 3-7 days. offenders can violate ^2 3x's b4 sent to prison prob. revoked. state has closed prisons. & jails r becoming over crowded. state has laid off hundreds of prison employees. guess where all the criminal r going 2 b now? Not in prison. in YOUR COMMUNITIES! thanks gov. P & lawmakers what a way to save tax money! citizens now will b abused & tormented by criminal that need 2 b behind bars. u r really sending a great msg 2 criminals. break prob."all i gotta do is weekend in jail!"

  • sunshineonmyshoulder Feb 24, 2012

    I thought it was official yesterday, but I was wrong. It's official today...the campaigning for the upcoming election is in full swing here (JoCo) now.

  • thepeopleschamp Feb 24, 2012

    "what about people who use high school kids to score their fix for pills (wake county sheriff's daughter ring a bell?)
    oh that's right, she got a prayer for judgement continued for her 3 felony counts
    two different justice systems in eastern nc, one for those with connections and one for common citizens" less_govt_is_better_govt

    You've not been to court too often have you? For her charges the sentence was pretty standard. I've seen much more severe charges get lighter results than that too.

  • piene2 Feb 24, 2012

    ""We need some fines, and we need some sentencing that sends a message back to the street," he said.

    Hmmmm, let's see. when you lock up Mr. Meth Man some other meth man just opens right up. putting folks in jail does nothing. If folks want drugs, I assure you they will get them. Why not make people happy so they don't need drugs?
    welfarequeen"

    Lots of luck Sheriff Bizzell. With the new "Shake and Bake" method a meth lab can be almost anywhere and the meth is easier and cheaper to make.

  • bitemedoughboy Feb 24, 2012

    Hmmmm, let's see. when you lock up Mr. Meth Man some other meth man just opens right up. putting folks in jail does nothing. If folks want drugs, I assure you they will get them. Why not make people happy so they don't need drugs? welfarequeen

    Your name speaks volumns.

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