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LPD discovers a rash of meth labs last week

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By Jennifer Caldwell

Meth lab discoveries kept the LaFollette Police Department busy during 2008. With a rash of four labs cropping up in the last week, it seems that 2009 is likely to bring more of the same.

Last Wednesday Officer William Owens observed a car in the area of South Tennessee and Elm Streets in violation of the window tint law.

During the traffic stop Owens discovered the license tag on the car, which was driven by David Wayne Williams, 39, of 1681 Back Valley Road, was registered to another vehicle. 

According to the arrest warrant, Williams and his passenger Patrick Johnson, 34, of 711 South 11th Street, both had outstanding warrants. 

Johnson was wanted in Knox and Blount counties for promotion to manufacture methamphetamine.

Records indicate when Owens was granted consent to search the vehicle he found “several components used to promote the manufacture of methamphetamine.”

The items found in the car allegedly included a mason jar filled with approximately one quart of liquid that was determined by the Hazmat Removal Team determined to be acid. 

Officers Josh Vann, Rick Ford, Pam Jarrett and Det. Sgt. Jason Henegar were also at the scene to assist with the inventory and disposal of the items.

Williams and Johnson were arrested and charged with promotion to manufacture meth. They are scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 13.

According to Henegar a second lab was discovered last Wednesday on South 27th Street in a wooded area near an abandoned residence.

“Officer Pam Jarrett received information about the lab from an unidentified source,” Henegar said of how the lab was located.

While the lab was inactive, a variety of items including 56 ounces of ammonia nitrate and 132 ounces of bi-layer liquid and pseudoephedrine tablets were found at the site.

No arrests have been made in connection with the lab, but Henegar said the department is looking into a number of suspects.

The discoveries continued on Thursday when Owens stumbled upon a lab while on patrol.

Henegar reported while the components on South Indiana Avenue were not enough to constitute a full lab it had been at one time.

“There had been a lab there recently because there was evidence a cook had taken place,” Henegar said of the area that was inventoried by himself, Owen, Jarrett and Officer Daniel Terry.

An investigation into this lab is also ongoing.

Officer Susan Sowder’s routine foot patrol on Sharp Lane led to the discovery of another lab on Monday.

“As she (Sowder) was patrolling the area she found a lab that had been recently active along the creek bank near the apartments located on Sharp Circle,” Henegar stated.

Left behind in the lab were a number of dangerous chemicals including ammonia nitrate, bi-layer liquid, ether and sodium hydroxide.

No arrests were made in connection with this lab. 

Citizens who have information about any of these incidents are encouraged to contact the drug hotline at 566-0488.