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New Bern crash leads authorities to suspected meth operation

Sun Journal, August 19, 2016

A wreck on Wednesday has resulted in a meth lab bust at a New Bern home and pending charges for the driver, once he gets out of the hospital.

Joseph Micah Joyce, 35, of New Bern, rolled his 2004 Chevrolet pickup on N.C. 55 near Jasper Drive around 7 a.m. on Wednesday. He was transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, from which he was sent to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. A passenger, Kellie Guy, 31, also of New Bern, was treated and released.

While cleaning up the wreck debris, firefighters noticed smoking bottles they believed to be precursors to methamphetamine creation and notified Highway Patrol Trooper VanDyke, who then called a Hazardous Materials unit to the scene.

Lt. John Raynor of the Craven County Sheriff’s Office said the bottles were leaking hydrogen chloride gas, and that they were part of a “one-pot meth lab” setup, also known as a “shake and bake” lab.

The truck was taken to the sheriff’s office where an SBI team checked it for any further drug items. None were found.

The Highway Patrol went to Joyce’s home the next day to issue a citation to his father, who owned the truck, Raynor said. “They got an odor coming from the shed in the back yard that was suspicious,” Raynor said, and the Coastal Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) was contacted.

Three investigators, led by Raynor, went to the home at 855 Chattawka Lane in New Bern where the father went with them to the shed.

“I saw several precursor chemicals and remnants of making meth,” Raynor said. The house was then sealed while the SBI cleanup team came out.

Raynor said that charges of manufacturing a Schedule 1 substance, possession of precursor chemicals, and maintaining a dwelling for the creation of drugs will be filed against Joyce when he is released from Vidant, where he is currently in fair condition.

Also facing the same charges will be his brother, Patrick Joyce, who shared the house with him and is also wanted on meth-related charges in Franklin County.

A woman, Tiffany Spear, who was also at the house, will also face yet-to-be determined charges.

The father will not likely be charged, Raynor said.