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October 24, 2012

3 face felony charges after weekend bust

An anonymous tip that led police to a west Cullman apartment resulted in three felony arrests and a busted mobile meth lab over the weekend.

According to Cullman police officer Trevor Clemmons, officers received word from an undisclosed tipster that the occupants of a dwelling at Fuller Apartments, located on Warnke Road, were making methamphetamine using the “shake-and-bake” method now endemic among small-scale meth users.

“Last Friday, we received a tip that there was a meth lab over off Warnke Road, so me and two other officers — Brandon Patterson and Glenn Beck — went over to the apartment and knocked on the door,” said Clemmons. “One of the men who was arrested, Roger Hines, answered the door; the other man we arrested, Jason Armstrong, was sitting on the couch in the living room.

“I told them we had received a tip that they were involved in some illegal narcotics activity, and I asked to see their IDs. We observed a plastic bag on the living room floor, and I asked Mr. Hines what was in the bag. He said he didn’t know, but that we could have it — and that whatever was in it was probably something illegal. Inside the bag we found a 20-ounce bottle with hoses coming out of the top and other paraphernalia that suggested it was being used to manufacture methamphetamine. There was also another plastic bag next to the first one, and it contained a two-liter bottle, with substances inside it that are used as precursor chemicals in the manufacture of meth,” he added.

“Basically, what you had is a working meth lab sitting there in two plastic bags by the couch. I arrested both of the men. In the back of the apartment, I located a woman, Bonita Lewis, who is the renter of that apartment. She explained to us that the other two guys go and get her the stuff to make it, and then she makes it.”

All three occupants were charged with a single count of first-degree unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance. They are currently being held in the Cullman County Detention Center on a mandatory $1 million bond. As with all busts involving alleged meth materials, the Cullman Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) was called to the scene to help process the evidence.

Assistant Cullman police chief Craig Green said the arrests reflected a good rapport between local police and the public whom they serve.

“We appreciate the effort that Trevor and our other officers put forth, and I think this type of arrest just shows the degree of cooperation between law enforcement and the public, as well as CNET working with our patrol officers,” said Green. “Methamphetamine is an epidemic, and I really encourage the public to use this case as an example of what we can accomplish together. When people in the community partner with us, as they did here, it goes a really long way toward helping to get people off the streets and into the jail, and to remove drugs from the hands of people who clearly should not have them.”

* Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at bbullard@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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