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Three men have been charged in connection to a Jones County meth lab while one deputy is recovering after breathing in chemicals at the scene, according to authorities.

Brandon C. Humphreys, 26, of Cobb Road in Kinston was charged Saturday by the Jones County Sheriff’s Office with manufacturing methamphetamine and by the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office with two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine and two counts of maintaining a vehicle for Schedule II controlled substance.

Walter R Herring III, 29, of Albritton Road in Kinston, and Christopher S. Price, 38, of Fields Station Road in La Grange, were also charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.

At approximately 6 p.m. Saturday, Jones County Deputies went to 3412 Cobb Road to serve felony trafficking methamphetamine warrants on Humphreys for Kinston Police. When deputies arrived, they made contact with two individuals inside the residence and smelled the strong odor of marijuana coming from the residence. The two subjects were detained and a search warrant for marijuana was obtained, according to information from the JCSO.

Deputies initiated a search of the residence and located marijuana, a small amount of methamphetamine and Ecstacy, a digital scale and other drug paraphernalia, according to the JCSO. Deputies discovered what they believed to possibly be precursors to methamphetamine production.

As the deputies were preparing to exit the residence and contact the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, the top on a plastic bottle containing an unknown liquid, which was apparently under pressure, popped off and emitted a plume of smoke, which began to quickly fill the mobile home, according to the JCSO. While exiting the mobile home, one of the deputies inadvertently inhaled some of the noxious fumes and collapsed in the front yard.

An EastCare chopper was placed on standby and the deputy was rushed to Southwood Volunteer Fire Department by a Jones County Investigator to meet with EMS. EMS transported the deputy from Southwood VFD to Lenoir Memorial Hospital, according to the JCSO.

After numerous breathing and eye treatments and testing, Deputy Leila Groom was released at around 5 a.m., according to information from the JCSO. The deputy is doing well and is expected to return to duty on Wednesday.

While the injured deputy was being tended to, Sheriff Heath and deputies secured the scene and stood by for the SBI. An SBI special agent responded shortly thereafter and discovered what appeared to be remnants of a meth lab outside the back door of the residence, according to the JCSO. The special agent and deputies then met with a resident Superior Court Judge and obtained a search warrant for the suspected meth lab.

The SBI Lab Team arrived on scene at approximately 9:30 a.m. and agents began searching, collecting evidence and rendering the scene safe, while Wyse Fork Fire & EMS personnel stood by for precautionary measures.

The search revealed a fully functional meth lab. Tests by the SBI Chemist on the bottle and unknown liquid, which injured the deputy, revealed a strong acid, which the chemist believed to be Sulfuric Acid.

Humphreys received a $110,000 secured bond for his Lenoir County charges and was held without bond for Jones County. He remains in the custody of the Jones County Jail. Both Herring and Price are currently being held in the Jones County Jail without bond.

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are pending.



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