North Carolina man convicted by federal jury on several drug charges

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 28, 2022

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A federal jury convicted Craig Wayne Simpson, 53, of Como, on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 on multiple drug charges, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina. Simpson will be sentenced on July 11, 2022 and is facing a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison.

“This conviction was a result of a coordinated effort by federal, state and local law enforcement officers to put those responsible for producing and peddling dangerous drugs behind bars and keep our communities safe,” said Michael Easley, United States Attorney for the Eastern District.

Simpson was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable mount of methamphetamine; possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine; possession of equipment, chemicals, products and material with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance; and using and maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.

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According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Simpson conspired with others to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine from 2013 to 2019. “In 2016, Simpson was stopped at a Hertford County checkpoint and law enforcement discovered a bag containing materials for making methamphetamine along with 170 grams of liquid methamphetamine,” stated the release. “In 2019, Simpson’s property was searched, and powder methamphetamine and more liquid methamphetamine were seized. Law enforcement also recovered all the chemicals, materials, and tools for manufacturing methamphetamine. These were stashed throughout the residence and vehicles present on the property.”

Records presented to the jury showed an extensive pseudoephedrine purchase history by Simpson at local pharmacies from 2013 to 2019. Pseudoephedrine is a required ingredient for manufacturing methamphetamine the way Simpson did, according to the release.

“This investigation is part of operation ‘Speed Bump’ which is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. Operation Speed Bump targeted individuals engaged in the dangerous and hazardous production of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories throughout Eastern North Carolina,” stated the release. “OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launders, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.”

Easley made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle accepted the verdict. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, Hertford County Sheriff’s Office and the Ahoskie Police Department are investigating the case and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Tyler Lemons and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Duffy are prosecuting.