A convicted felon who reported a rifle was stolen from his home last week led to a criminal investigation that resulted in a major drug and weapons bust Tuesday afternoon in southern Johnston County.
Last Friday, Johnston County deputies said 38 year-old Jeffrey Michael Beasley of 97 Bass Road, Four Oaks, an address in the Bentonville community, called authorities to report that someone had stolen $200 in cash and his rifle. Beasley, a convicted felon, is not allowed to possess a weapon.
Tuesday afternoon, deputies returned to Beasley’s home to arrest him on a warrant charging him with possession of a firearm by a felon. When Beasley opened the door, officers reportedly saw what they thought was a methamphetamine lab inside his home. Officers detained Beasley on the warrant and secured the residence until a search warrant could be signed by a judge.
During the search of the home, a meth lab was located along with two homemade bombs. Agents described one bomb as an IED-style projectile with a fuse. The second bomb had blasting caps.
The SBI and Bentonville Fire Department assisted the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. The SBI Bomb Squad later detonated the devices near the scene.
“As Sheriff, I want to thank our deputies in the Narcotics Division, SBI agents, and the Bentonville firemen, for assisting us in their role in cleaning up this meth lab and hazardous chemicals yesterday evening,” said Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell. “While on the scene, I personally witnessed these public servants willing to put their own lives on the line to ensure that this community is safe, and that we will not sit idle and allow this type of drug activity to occur in our county.”
Federal ATF agents have now joined the investigation into Beasley and the homemade explosives. He could possibly face federal charges.
Beasley is currently being held in the Johnston County Jail under a $550,000 bond charged with multiple criminal violations including manufacturing methamphetamines and possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Officials are still investigating how Beasley was able to make the bombs and if he had any specific purpose for the explosives or an intended target.