The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

December 6, 2012


SBI dismantles Mildred meth lab

Van Holland

TARBORO — A Tuesday afternoon traffic stop in Tarboro resulted in the discovery of methamphetamine inside the vehicle by members of the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office drug task and Tarboro Police Department.

The bust, which stemmed from a tip provided by a citizen, resulted in a more extensive investigation which led to officers uncovering the first working methamphetamine lab to have ever been found in the county.

On Tuesday night, agents of the State Bureau of Investigation joined members of the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office

The chain of events began when started when law enforcement learned that 48-year-old Jerry Coffield and his 25-year-old son, Heath Braxton Coffield, were involved in the sale of methamphetamine.

Officers stopped the Coffields’ vehicle on US 258, near the U.S. 64 Bypass, and asked and was granted permission to search the vehicle. During the search, officers found a quantity of methamphetamine. Also inside the vehicle was 24-year-old Chelsea Lou Pelliter and her 2-year-old child.

During the traffic stop, officers learned the trio had been smoking meth inside the vehicle in the presence of the child and that the Coffield’s had a working methamphetamine lab at the father’s residence, located at 3093 US 64 Alternate near Mildred.

After learning about the meth lab, officers contacted the State Bureau Of Investigation (SBI), which handles all disposal and clean-up of working methamphetamine labs in the state.

Once the SBI arrived at the residence, a search warrant was executed and officers located the methamphetamine lab in the back yard, inside a storage building that was surrounded by a horse pen.

SBI agents, dressed in haz-mat gear, began dismantling the lab  and started the cleaning process. It took agents several hours to dismantle the lab.

Among the items seized from the building were methamphetamine, precursors used to make methamphetamine and other paraphernalia. Officers also found a .22 caliber handgun inside of the residence.

Both of the Coffield’s were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession with the intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine, maintaining a dwelling for the manufacturing of methamphetamine, two counts of possession of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The father was placed in the Edgecombe County Detention Center under a $435,000 secured bond and the son was placed under a $415,000 secured bond.

Pelliter was charged with possession with the intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine. She was jailed under a $165,000 secured bond. There may also be charges brought against Pelliter for child endangerment.

Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive schedule II stimulant, which means it has a high potential for abuse. It affects the central nervous system and is easily made in clandestine laboratories with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients.