A traffic stop to apprehend a Pope Road meth lab suspect on outstanding warrants Wednesday quickly escalated into a high-speed car chase, a vehicle search and numerous arrests. When the dust cleared, Sampson County Sheriff’s authorities had placed five people behind bars on dozens of felony charges.
At 3 p.m. Wednesday, agents with the Sheriff’s Office’s Special Investigations Division saw Michael Brandon Pope, 26, leaving 91 Jean Lane operating a dark-colored Nissan Altima. Pope had outstanding warrants in connection with a Sept. 18 meth lab bust at 1122 Pope Road, in which two others — Pope’s wife was one — were previously arrested.
When agents attempted to stop the vehicle, Pope failed to stop and a chase ensued. Agents reportedly pursued the suspect for several miles before he finally yielded on New Hope Church Road and surrendered. Pope and a passenger, Julia Taylor Smith, 21, were immediately taken into custody. “A search of the vehicle revealed a small amount of marijuana, several small bags of meth and meth precursor items inside the vehicle,” reports stated.
Pope, whose residence is 1122 Pope Road, where the lab was found, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamines, three counts of distribution of meth precursor chemicals, storage of hazardous materials, reckless driving, resist, obstruct and delay, possession of drug paraphernalia, speeding 100 mph in 55 mph zone, and flee to elude.
He was also served with outstanding warrants stemming from the meth lab investigation, including manufacturing methamphetamines, four counts of possession and distribution of meth precursor, storage of hazardous materials, maintaining a dwelling for storage of a controlled substance and two counts of misdemeanor child abuse. Two children were taken by the Department of Social Services following the Sept. 18 lab bust and handed over to a family member, authorities said.
Pope has been placed in the Detention Center under $360,000 secured bond.
Smith, whose address is 127 Maple St., Warsaw, was charged with four counts of possession and distribution of meth precursor, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, storage of hazardous materials, manufacturing of methamphetamines. Smith’s bond was set at $30,000 secured.
During the incident, agents also spotted another dark-colored passenger car leaving the Jean Lane residence. A separate group of agents conducted a traffic stop on that vehicle, a search of which yielded a small amount of marijuana and meth.
Following the stop, Byron Brewer, 20, of 52 Jacobs West Lane, Clinton, was charged with three counts of distribution of meth precursor, littering of hazardous waste, manufacturing methamphetamines, possession of up to half-ounce of marijuana, possession and distribution of meth precursor. Bond for Brewer was set at $75,000 secured.
After the two traffic stops, a search warrant was obtained for the Jean Lane address. During the search, “components to a meth lab were located inside the residence,” reports stated.
Angel Phillips, 17, of 91 Jean Lane, Clinton, was at the residence at the time and was arrested following a search warrant. She was charged with three counts of distribution of meth precursor, littering of hazardous waste, manufacturing methamphetamines and storage of hazardous materials. Her bond was set at $25,000 secured.
Later Brandon Crumpler, 21, of 3905 Bearskin Road, Clinton, turned himself in to agents at the magistrate’s office in connection with the meth lab components found in the Jean Lane investigation.
Crumpler was charged with manufacturing methamphetamines, four counts of possession and distribution of meth precursor, storage of hazardous materials and littering of hazardous waste. His bond was set at $150,000 secured.
“Agents worked extremely hard in this case and it shows their committed dedication to ridding our communities of drugs,” Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said in a prepared statement. “This investigation is ongoing and more charges are possible.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.