Meth lab bust leads to possible burglary ring
by Elane Jones
Jul 03, 2013 | 6116 views | 0 0 comments | 85 85 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Law enforcement authorities are hoping information gleaned during a recent raid on a methamphetamine lab will lead to the arrest of a group of individuals believed to be responsible for a rash of burglaries in Walker, Winston and Fayette counties.

Walker County Sheriff’s Deputy Blair Huddleston said the sheriff’s office received information about a possible burglary ring following the June 19 arrests of seven people at a meth lab found at a home located at 1192 Blackwell Loop in Jasper.

“I received a call from Alabama Probation Officer Darryl Gurganus, who was conducting a home visit at the residence on Blackwell Loop, and he said an individual in custody was in possession of a large quanity of pseudoephedrine and two marijuana pipes, and several unknown subjects inside the house,” Huddleston said. “When I arrived on the scene and entered the residence I noticed there was a fog of cigarette smoke covering up a chemical smell generally associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine, and during the search I also found several items in plain view that indicated the presence of a meth lab.”

Huddleston immediately contacted dispatch for an additional patrol unit to help in securing the occupants in and outside the residence.

While clearing the residence, Huddleston said he heard what sounded like a weapon being dropped down an air conditioner duct coupled with a plastic thud.

“I noticed an individual in a hallway who was attempting to re-install an air conditioner vent. I immediately detained this subject and finished clearing the home without further incident,” Huddleston said.

“When I returned to the residence to recover the item or items placed in the return duct, I discovered a Beretta 9mm pistol along with two unmarked plastic containers.”

Huddleston said containers were filled with a substance that is consistent with a product used in manufacturing meth, but it was red in color and smoking.

“In my experience with the clandestine manufacturing process of methamphetamine, this was a medley of damp rid and a liquid hydrochloric acid, also known as gas generator,” Huddleston said. “We also discovered controlled substances, drug paraphernalia and other meth lab components, guns and flat screen TVs of varying sizes in every room of the house.”

The kitchen and garage became the central focus of the search where multiple packs of lithium batteries were found along with a mason jar that had a small amount of white substance in a solution, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

After being reminded of their miranda rights, all the subjects were asked if they had any knowledge of the meth or the meth lab components, to which no one replied.

“They were all arrested and transported to the Walker County Jail with the exception of one, a teenager, who was transported to the Walker County Juvenile holding facility,” Huddleston said. “After conducting interviews with several of the subjects involved in the meth lab bust, we gleaned some information about a group that had been formed and was allegedly involved in multiple burglaries in Winston and Fayette counties. The main goal of the burglaries were firearms, flat screen TVs, jewelry, and drugs.”

Huddleston obtained a search warrant of the home where the meth lab was discovered, and he and Patrol Deputy Anthony Leach began to scour the woods were multiple stolen firearms were reportedly being hidden.

“Approximately 30 minutes into our search we located a Ruger 10/22 rifle with a serial number that came back stolen out of Winston County,” Huddleston said.

“It was evident there were other hiding spots in the tree line for firearms, but the weapons had apparently been recovered.”

Authorities believe the stolen firearms may have been taken to unknown locations in the city of Carbon Hill and finding that address is under investigation.

“The exploits of this group in Walker County and the surrounding counties is just now coming to light as this investigation continues,” Huddleston said.