Five charge with providing pseudoephedrine to cook meth

Published 7:02 pm Friday, January 24, 2020

CHOCOWINITY — The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit has charged five individuals with supplying pseudoephedrine used to manufacture methamphetamine at a residence in Chocowinity.

The charges follow the dismantling of a meth lab at 415 Carrow Road last month by the BCSO and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. During that incident Dec. 23, Donnie Mayo, 44, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and a variety of other charges. A second person, Gina Whaley, 29, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia the same day.

Further investigation by the BCSO led to the five additional arrests this week and last week.

Jan. 14, investigators arrested Michael Baker, 36, of Edgewood Drive in Chocowinity, Edward John Mullen, 27, of 485 Bear Creek Road in Chocowinity, Joshua Marslender, 29, of Worthington Lane in Chocowinity and Wendy Miller Simpkins, 37, of Anne Drive in Washington. Wednesday, the BCSO made the fifth arrest in the case, Brittany Kirkedahl, 29, of N.C. Highway South in Chocowinity.

Each of the five was charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine by purchasing and distributing pseudoephedrine to Donnie Mayo for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.

“They’re pretty much what we call in the investigative world ‘smurfs,’” Davenport said. “Donnie Mayo knew from our prior investigations that he can’t buy pseudoephedrine, because it would alert us that he was buying it and manufacturing meth. So he used other people to purchase the main ingredient.”

While pseudoephedrine doesn’t require a prescription to purchase, it is tightly regulated because of its use in manufacturing meth. The over-the-counter drug requires one to present a drivers license and sign a log at the pharmacy. Davenport said investigators were able to collect evidence from local pharmacies to help build a case.

“We work with all the local stores and pharmacies where they go to purchase pseudoephedrine,” Davenport said. “We gather footage from cameras from stores and they sign for the medication, because it is now behind the counter.”

While the five were charged with the same crime, their bails were considerably different as they were booked into the Beaufort County Detention Center.

Baker, Mullen and Marslender were each given $125,000 secured bonds, Simpkins was held under a $50,000 secured bond and Kirkedahl was held under a $10,000 secured bond.

“There’s discretion in the magistrate’s office,” Davenport said. “Some may set a high bond and some may set a low bond.”