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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Three men have been charged with manufacturing crystal meth in their Wilmington apartment.

Crews spent hours Saturday morning cleaning up the meth lab, which was found in Wimbledon Chase Apartments. Wilmington Police were tipped off by neighbors who reported an unusual odor coming from an apartment in their building Friday night. Police evacuated neighbors to avoid any hazardous second-hand effects.

Wilmington Police spokeswoman Lucy Crockett called meth “the poor man’s cocaine” and said the drug is becoming more popular because of the combination of tough economic times and a relatively cheap drug recipe.

Wilmington Police, the Wilmington Fire Department, New Hanover County EMS and a SBI crew from Asheville were on the scene all morning. New Hanover County Emergency Management Director Warren Lee said the clean-up could cost the county upwards of $2,500.

Neighbors we spoke with said they are shocked something like this was cooking in what they call a mostly quiet neighborhood.

The three men charged with operating the lab are Ricky Lee Blair of Wilmington, Cory Nicholas Best of New Bern and James David Stirling of Wilmington (pictured above from left to right). All three have been charged with:

1. Manufacturing a controlled substance – Schedule II (methamphetamine)
2. Maintaining a dwelling used to manufacture a controlled substance
3. Felony conspiracy

Bond has been set at $1,000,000 each.

Tune in to WWAY NewsChannel 3 Sunday at 11p.m. to hear more from neighbors and officials about the incident.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest3

    Apparently, this “man with a heart of gold” was popped down in Georgia for the exact same crime (manufacture methamphetame)in 2009!!

  • concerned23

    first poster is right the guy on left is a good man with a heart of gold jus down on his luck hope people can see past the whole criminal part what he did was wrong and he should be punished but not condemed

  • homehelp

    the process he was using is called the shake and bake method and it is speed not crystal meth only the gas is harzerdous only thing that would blow up is the lithuim strip used in the process if it had goten wet boom :{ process only takes 2 hrs i haven never done it will never do it speed aka meth is for losers lol neway glad there off the street

  • jbd

    I agree meth and meth manufacturing is absolutely awful. The thing is, you don’t know how either of these men got in this position. They may have been homeless, they may have been addicts most of their lives and usually there is an underlying cause for this,they may have been so over the edge they didnt think about the danger they put others in. I agree, the penalties should be really stiff, but look at that person as a human being who is an addict and needs all the help and positive support there is to be offered. I’m the sister to one of these men and I will not state which. At one point in time he was a very proud, smart and caring person. Now he is so low, that this lab is not surprising to me. Just saddens me how much he has hurt himself and everyone who has any contact with him. He has a wonderful wife, a beautiful and smart daughter(who just got married), a very smart son who is the father of his only grandson, and another quite awesome and intelligent son! By now I guess you have figured out which one it is. He has not always been an addict! He was a United States Naval officer, had a lot of pride in himself and his family. He made me proud to be his sister….you know what, I still am! I’m just thankful no one was injured or even worse, killed. Please forgive him for putting you in harms way. I know this hard to fathom, but he is a christian man…one who has fallen from Christ. Only he can regain his relationship with the Lord, who is oh soo sweet to us.Im gonna stop rattling, but please don’t condemn these men, they just need some extreme help!

  • local moron

    1 million for bail for meth, and killers and rapists walk free everyday? got to love our “justice” system!

  • GuestLee

    Bail SHOULD be high for meth lab dealers. They are in the business of shortening and ruining people’s lives. Meth labs can explode and kill people.

    Look at their mug shots. Would you want these people living in your neighborhood?

  • tim prather

    If found guilty its a automatic sentence of 100yrs with no good time. Thats a flat 100 yrs and if they want to make it then go for it its your ASS thats going to do the “TIME”

  • Loperin

    R O F L !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    ….appreciates Cory Nicholas Best of New Bern offering HIS mugshot up to prove that the deranged pedophile whaler isn’t the ugliest guy in the state.

    This guy Best looks like something out of a painting by Boticelli or Bosch.

  • GuestLee

    What a bunch of losers! This is what drugs will do to you!

    Not only do they not care about themselves, but they put others at risk by having a meth lab at an apartment complex which could explode anytime.

  • slmdartfrog

    Hello everyone,
    I am of the opinion,dealers and addicts are in all neighborhoods. Rich,poor,beautiful,dilapidated,loud,quiet,and everywhere in between. People you know and people you don’t. All you have to do is look for it.

    WWAY3: Thanks so much for making the navigation and participation of your site easy


  • Guest1234

    Wilmington is becoming less safe for the more vulnerable. Gangs, drugs, lack of services for those trying to pull themselves up into middle class life, make it even harder.

  • That dude in the middle looks like he just stepped out of a Nazi death camp.

  • brad pitt

    I knew that guy in the middle for about 10 years now. He’s really smart but just fell into an uncontrollable addiction that spiraled down FAST. It just weird that in 2000 he didnt even drink alcohol…


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