Como man sentenced to 150 months in prison

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022

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ELIZABETH CITY – Craig Wayne Simpson, 53, of Como was sentenced here July 11 to 150 months in prison and five years of supervised release for producing and trafficking meth.

The sentencing judge noted several factors contributing to the sentence including the substantial risk to human life caused by the production of meth, Simpson’s possession of a loaded shotgun, and the fact that, during the sentencing hearing, the defendant admitted he had lied under oath during the trial.

“The successful prosecution of this criminal enterprise is putting an armed drug dealer behind bars and taking dangerous meth off our streets,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “Those involved in making and trafficking meth and other illegal narcotics will spend time in prison.”

Simpson was convicted by a federal jury in April of this year for the following charges:

Conspiracy to distribute fifty grams or more of methamphetamine;

Possession with the intent to distribute fifty grams or more of methamphetamine; and

Possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and material with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Simpson, conspired with others to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine from 2013 to 2019. Evidence showed that Simpson directed other individuals to purchase pseudoephedrine so that Simpson could produce methamphetamine, while evading federal and state purchase limits.

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 as well as a loaded shotgun, which was positioned on a handrailing pointing towards the front door.

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.

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.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ahoskie Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tyler Lemons and Dennis Duffy prosecuted the case.