Lenoir County investigators said they had to detonate a pair of suspected "pipe bombs" at a drug-growing operation on Wednesday. A suspect has been taken into custody.
According to Sheriff Chris Hill, deputies were investigating a metal theft at a home on Dawson Station Road Wednesday morning, when they discovered more than 20 marijuana plants and more than 20 opium poppy plants at the property. The suspect, 25-year-old Kristopher Adam Tyson , is accused of extracting opium from the poppy plants to make heroin, Sheriff Hill said.
"We saw evidence of that. We found one of the tools to lance those bulbs and we believe some of that material on the tool is actually some of that resin," Sheriff Hill said.
The finding of poppy plants in North Carolina is unique as they are commonly grown for the production of heroin in South America and Afghanistan, Sheriff Hill said.
Opium poppy plants are illegal to possess in North Carolina.
Deputies also found four "destructive devices," two of which were identified as pipe bombs, Sheriff Hill told NewsChannel 12. An SBI team detonated the devices safely and found there were no explosive elements inside the “pipe bombs.”
Tyson, who lives at the property, was taken into custody, Sheriff Hill said. But the suspect has requested a lawyer and is refusing to talk. According to Sheriff Hill, Tyson is already on probation for another crime.
Sheriff Hill said he does not believe there are other suspects involved. Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacoo, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, ATF, ALE, and the SBI’s Clandestine Lab team. Lenoir County EMS, LC Emergency Mgt. and North Lenoir VFD were also at the scene.
Tyson has been charged with Maintaining a Dwelling for Use/Selling of Controlled Substances, Manufacturing Schedule II and Manufacturing Schedule VI. He is being held at the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center under a $35,000.00 secured bond.
Tyson is scheduled to have a first appearance Thursday morning in Lenoir County District Court.