Three arrested, charged in meth bust

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2016

(From left) Joshua Tull Grant, Danny Keith Silver and Heather Williams

(From left) Joshua Tull Grant, Danny Keith Silver and Heather Williams

Three Chocowinity residents were jailed Tuesday night after reports alerted sheriff’s office investigators to a methamphetamine lab.

Heather Williams, 27, Joshua Tull Grant, 33, and Danny Keith Silver, 32, all of 113 N.C. Highway 33 West, were charged with possession of methamphetamine and manufacturing methamphetamine.

“We started working (the case) this week after a neighbor called and complained about traffic coming and going,” said Lt. Russell Davenport, head of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office drug unit.

Davenport said investigators started surveillance on the house at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning and by 5 p.m. in the evening, the paperwork for the warrant was complete based on the number of people visiting the property and observing behaviors consistent with meth production — including the regular airing by fan of toxic fumes from the residence. The drug unit had to time its approach to residence because of the release of those toxic fumes, he said.

“We can’t run up to the back door with the fan going, blowing toxic fumes in our faces,” Davenport said.

Meth is both highly volatile in its production and releases toxic fumes that contaminate skin, hair and clothing. Tuesday night, Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department assisted in the arrest, setting up portable showers where Williams, Grant and Silver were decontaminated before they were transported to the Beaufort County Detention Center. The three suspects were held with no bond, as determined by the state because the production of meth is considered a public safety hazard.

“If we’ve been inside an active lab then we know we have to decontaminate them before we even put them in our jail,” Davenport said.

Davenport said while his unit is able to make arrests like this because of the support of Sheriff Ernie Coleman, Beaufort County commissioners, the county’s Fire and EMS squads, Beaufort County Emergency Management, Environmental Health, the District Attorney’s Office and the SBI’s Clandestine Lab Unit, he gives the most credit to “the citizens of the county that continue to believe that the war on drugs is worth fighting in Beaufort County.

Fighting drugs in our own back yard is where we are winning the war on drugs. We might not be wining it in another state, but we’re winning it Beaufort County,” Davenport said. “Everybody recognizes the importance of fighting drugs in Beaufort County.”