Today the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office along with numerous other agencies were involved in a vehicle chase that went through numerous counties. The chase began in Johnston County after the suspect fled in a vehicle. The suspect fled from police through Johnston, Wayne, Greene and Lenoir Counties. The driver of the vehicle was wanted by the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office. The driver and a passenger in the vehicle ran out of fuel on Felix Harvey Parkway around 5:30 pm and fled on foot from the vehicle.
Lenoir County Deputies with the assistance of Kinston Police Department, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville Police Department, NCSBI and Lenoir County Emergency Services searched wooded areas searching for the suspects. One of the vehicle occupants was located near Felix Harvey Parkway during the search. The search that included numerous manpower, canines and drones was called off after 1:00 am on Tuesday Morning. The second suspect was not apprehended and we ask anyone who sees him to immediately call 911. The wooded area in question is near Felix Harvey Parkway, Crestview Subdivision and Hickory Hills Road. The wanted suspect is Kenneth Earl Piper of Wilson. He is a white male, 29 years old, 6 feet tall, 160 pounds with brown dread locks and tattoos on his face above his eyebrows. Piper active felony warrants for possession with intent to sell, manufacture, deliver methamphetamine, possession of LSD and resisting arrest. Other charges are pending from the chase on this date.
CURRENT CHARGES PENDING IN COURT
POSSESSION OF A FIREARM BY A FELON
POSSESSION OF LSD
POSSESSION OF SCHEDULE VI
POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
FELONY POSSESSION OF SCHEDULE I
MAINTAINING A DWELLING FOR DRUGS
POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO SELL METHAMPHETAMINE
FLEE TO ELUDE ARREST
HISTORY OF CONVICTIONS
FELONY BREAKING AND ENTERING
ASSAULT ON A FEMALE
POSSESSION OF SCHEDULE II
HISTORY OF THE CASE
On February 14 2021, the Wilson County Sheriffs Office received a dispatch of two males passed out in a car sitting in a driveway at 603 S Main St, Lucama NC. Upon arrival, deputies identified the driver as Kenneth Earl PIPER and the front seat passenger as Trenton Kyle HENSLEY. During this contact deputies detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. After identifying both individuals, Deputies went back to the patrol car to run both subjects for outstanding warrants. While Deputies were waiting for the warrants, PIPER fled on foot. HENNSLEY remained in the vehicle and was detained at that time.
A search of the vehicle and a K9 track for PIPER were conducted after detaining HENSLEY. The search of the vehicle uncovered a plastic bag containing a crystal substance, a handgun magazine containing eight 9mm rounds of ammunition, and various items of drug paraphernalia. During the K9 track, deputies located a black bag. During a search of the bag uncovered another plastic bag containing a crystal substance, marijuana wax, and an NCID card with name and photo of Kenneth Earl PIPER on it. PIPER was not located.
Deputies obtained warrants for PIPER for Possession with the Intent .to Sell or Deliver Methamphetamine following this investigation. It should be noted that during this conduct, PIPER was on pre-trial release for the following pending state charges from December 11, 2020 in Wilson, North Carolina: First Degree Kidnapping, Felonious Restraint, and Assault by Pointing a Gun
On February 22nd , 2021, following the investigation from February 14 2021, detectives from Wilson County Sheriffs Office were able to obtain the whereabouts of Kenneth Earl PIPER through a confidential source (CS). CS advised that PJPER was located at a residence in Micro, North Carolina, in Johnston County. Wilson County detectives contacted detectives from the Johnston County Sheriffs Office to set up surveillance at the residence in Micro. Surveillance was set and detectives positively identified PIPER. Detectives attempted to conduct a traffic stop on PIPER after he left the residence in a vehicle. Immediately after detectives turned on their blue lights and siren to conduct a traffic stop, PIPER sped away and initiated a high-speed pursuit. Due to weather conditions and heavy traffic on this day, detectives disengaged the pursuit.
PIPER was later seen in Lenoir Co and again sped away initiating another high-speed pursuit. During this pursuit PIPER wrecked his car and both PIPER and the front seat passenger fled on foot into a wooded area. Lenoir County Sheriff's Office conducted a search for both subjects in the wooded area with the aid of K9's. During the search, K9 recovered a black in color Hi-point firearm, bearing serial number P1697108, with no magazine in it but one live round of ammunition in the chamber. PIPER was not located during the search.
Hours after the search started a white male was seen exiting the woods and approached a patrol car. This individual was identified as Allen Martin SMITH. SMITH was identified as the front seat passenger of the vehicle driven by PIPER during the pursuit. After locating SMITH, Wilson Co detectives obtained a video taken by SMITH and posted to SnapChat during the pursuit from law enforcement. In the video it shows PIPER holding a black in color Hi-point firearm. The video also shows SMITH holding the same firearm. During the video audio is heard stating that they were driving over 100 mph and they were going to "smoke" the person that told on them.
On February 24 2021, based upon the examination of the description of the Hi-point 9mm handgun provided by the affiant, ATF Special Agent Joshua Johnson determined the firearm is a firearm as defined in Title 18, U.S.C., 921(a)(3). SA Johnson determined not manufactured in the State of No1th Carolina, therefore, if the was received and/or possessed in the State of North Carolina, the traveled in or affected interstate and/or foreign commerce as defined by Title 18, U.S.C.
On October 22 2019, Kenneth Earl PIPER was found guilty in Wayne County Superior court for possession of a firearm by convicted felon with an offense date of July 8 2018. This crime was punishable by a sentence of 15-27 months of imprisonment.
CONCLUSION Based on the forgoing investigation, there is probable cause to believe that on February 22nd 2021, Kenneth Earl PIPER, violated Title 21 U.S.C. § 922(g)(l), that is, that he knowingly and intentionally possessed a firearm by a prohibited person.