ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WNCN) – A 53-year-old North Carolina man is facing a series of meth-related drug charges that could land him in jail for decades.

A federal jury convicted Craig Wayne Simpson of Como, North Carolina, on Tuesday on multiple drug charges, including maintaining a place to manufacture methamphetamine. Court records and evidence at trial pointed to a span of seven years during which Simpson conspired with others to manufacture the controlled substance.

Simpson will be sentenced on July 11 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 the following charges:

  • Conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount 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
  • Using and maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine

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.

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, Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina said.

This investigation is part of what’s called operation “Speed Bump,” which targets individuals engaged in the dangerous and hazardous production of meth in clandestine laboratories throughout Eastern North Carolina.

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 the case.