Friday, April 2, 2004

Two meth labs, one road

Gallatin labs, just miles apart, busted within a month

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

GHENT - In one month, narcotics agents have busted two methamphetamine labs on the same road in rural northwestern Gallatin County.

Four Ghent residents have been arrested for manufacturing methamphetamine, commonly called meth, at the two labs that police say were operating independently of each other.

"The labs were three miles apart in a very rural setting," said Detective Derek Boyd, assigned to a special state police drug enforcement unit. "Methamphetamine labs are synonymous with rural settings. There is a strong odor that is generally associated with meth labs, so you don't want many neighbors around."

James Richard Thomas, 43, and Letha Renee McNay, 39, were arrested Tuesday and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. State police detectives say they discovered a lab with enough ingredients to produce one ounce of methamphetamine at the home on Walnut Valley Road.

Boyd said meth sells for $1,200 to $2,400 per ounce on the street, depending on the quality. He estimated meth users consume about one gram a day, with the most addicted users injecting, snorting or digesting up to a quarter ounce a day.

Meth can be easily manufactured in clandestine labs using ingredients purchased in local stores. Over-the-counter cold medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine and other materials are "cooked" to make meth. Meth labs are found in many types of locations, including apartments, hotel rooms, rented storage spaces - even the trunks of cars.

Earlier in March, detectives closed another lab on Walnut Valley Road. In that case, Ronald Williams, 41, and Kelly Keith, 38, were charged with manufacturing meth. Both lived on Corda Lane in Ghent.

All four are being held at the Carroll County jail awaiting hearings in Gallatin County District Court. Manufacturing meth is a Class B felony in Kentucky punishable by 10 years to 20 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.

The arrests were made by detectives from the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office and Kentucky State Police Post 5 in Campbellsburg, with assistance from the state police West Drug Enforcement Branch and the Kentucky Department of Corrections Probation and Parole.


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