A Wilmington man has pleaded guilty to running a mobile meth lab from a vehicle at a Market Street hotel parking lot.
Christopher Loyd Holley, 42, pleaded guilty Monday in New Hanover County Superior Court to manufacturing methamphetamine. Superior Court Judge John Nobles sentenced him to five years in the N.C. Department of Corrections.
Holley was charged along with two other defendants in connection with a mobile meth lab that was found in a vehicle on Aug. 18, 2015, according to Assistant District Attorney Timothy Severo.
Wilmington police observed a Ford Explorer being driven by the defendant in a reckless manner on Market Street, Severo said. Officers followed the vehicle to a Handy Hugo store on Market Street and then to a hotel in the 4900 block of Market Street, where they stopped the Explorer.
The officer noticed an orange cylindrical tube in the vehicle that was an active “one-pot” meth lab, Severo said. Holley was arrested along with two other people inside the vehicle. The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation’s clandestine lab was called to the scene.
Officers seized 22 grams of meth, drug paraphernalia and several items used for making methamphetamine, Severo said. Further investigation of Holley’s activity in the months leading up to this arrest indicated he had either purchased pseudoephedrine or attempted to purchase pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter but regulated key ingredient to make methamphetamine.
Holley was prohibited by federal law to purchase the drug 21 times, because he exceeded the amount that he could purchase within a 30-day period or daily, according to New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David.
“While we have sympathy for persons that use or are addicted to methamphetamine, the production of and transportation of the functional equivalent of a chemical bomb will not be tolerated,” Severo said.
The mobile meth lab was a “bomb in the car separated by no less than an inch of plastic,” Severo said. Had the lab exploded, the blast could have affected not only the car but the hotel as well. Holley indicated to the state that he wanted to accept responsibility for the meth lab, he added.
Holley told the judge after sentencing that this was a “wake-up call” and he wants to change his life after serving his sentence. Holley was represented in the case by Attorneys Ben Dever and Chris Oring.
The two passengers in the vehicle with Holley – 30-year-old Meisha Marie Becker and 44-year-old Scott Leroy Milton – were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver meth and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. Their cases are pending in superior court.
Becker and Milton are scheduled to appear in New Hanover County Superior Court on Jan. 11, 2016.