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March 26, 2009

Meth Bust

Cullman police allegedly discovered a meth lab in a Hanceville man’s vehicle Thursday, shortly after they found him drunk and unconscious outside a local business.

According to police reports, Michael Anthony Ballard, 44 was charged with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance in the first degree.

Matt Gentry, director of the Cullman Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), said officers found Ballard after responding to a call that a man had passed out in front of Wells Turner Family Pharmacy on Cherokee Avenue S.W.

“They pulled up and talked to the individual after they woke him up ... and arrested him for public intoxication,” Gentry said.

After obtaining probable cause to search Ballard’s vehicle, Gentry said the officers discovered approximately one gram of meth and various chemicals used in the manufacturing of the drug.

“Since it was not an active lab, we did not have to decontaminate the scene,” he said. “A cleanup crew was called in to remove the chemicals.”

Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper commended his officers on finding the meth lab.

“Our patrol officers did an outstanding job of taking a simple job and making an outstanding job out of it,” Culpepper said.

“Ballard is incarcerated in the Cullman County Detention Center on a $1 million bond.

Unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance in the first degree is a Class A felony, punishable by up to life in prison.



‰ Patrick McCreless can be reached by e-mail at patrickm@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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