2 men charged with manufacturing meth in multiple sites in Smithfield

Staff writerFebruary 23, 2012 

Two men were arrested Wednesday in one of the largest drug busts in recent Johnston County history, according to authorities.

Allen Ray Best, 41, and James Michael Cook, 22, are accused of manufacturing methamphetamine in three different sites in Smithfield, according to Tammy Amaon, spokeswoman for the Johnston County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies discovered the drugs when they were serving a restraining order against Best around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Officers set off toward Best's home at 8694 Brogden Road. While en route, they passed Best driving in his vehicle. When they tried to pull him over, Best refused. A brief chase ensued.

Finally, Best pulled over his car near his home. When officers searched him, they found methamphetamine, said Amaon. James Michael Cook, an employee at White Swan BBQ Restaurant, was a passenger in the vehicle.

Officers then searched Best's residence. They found evidence of a meth lab he was operating out of his home, said Amaon. There was also evidence of a meth lab in the woods behind his home and in an abandoned store down the street that Best's family once owned.

Sheriffs seized about 70 vessels used to cook meth, a quantity capable of producing pounds of the illegal substance, said Amaon.

This drug bust places an extra burden on taxpayers, Amaon said. While the state used to take care of drug clean-ups, the obligation is now on the county. Taxpayers will pay for the clean up, which is expected to be very involved due to the scope of the production, according to Amaon.

Both men face charges including manufacturing meth, possession of marijuana and other drugs and conspiracy to manufacture meth.

They were being held in the Johnston County jail under $201,000 bond Wednesday night and will go before a judge today.

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