- Cullman, Alabama

August 2, 2013

Two arrested on meth charges in Cullman

By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Two people were arrested after Cullman City Police officers found an inactive meth lab and 100 grams of methamphetamine in their vehicle following a traffic stop on Wednesday night.

Sarah Frances Ellenburg, 39, of Vinemont, and Freddie Dowling Smith, 34, of Vinemont, were arrested for meth manufacture and possession at 6 p.m. on Wednesday on U.S. Highway 278 and Cleveland Avenue. Cullman Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) Director Joey Cone said officer Matt Hollingsworth was given consent to search after a traffic stop.

“Mr. Smith was the driver of the vehicle and didn’t have a license on him because it was suspended,” Cone said. “They were acting very nervous, so the officer started asking them questions and they admitted to taking meth recently.”

After receiving consent to search, the officer found a plastic baggy with methamphetamine in it, and two coffee filters with meth residue on Ellenburg’s person.

“Smith didn’t have anything on him, but when the officer looked into the back of the SUV, he found a book bag with an inactive meth lab inside it,” Cone said. “Once they located the book bag, he called us and a CNET agent went out and removed the lab components and got it ready for disposal.”

Inside the vehicle, the officer located Coleman camp fuel, three liter bottles of Lye (crystal drain cleaner), liquid drain cleaner, lithium batteries, a glass jar with a plastic hose coming out of it and a gas generator.

Both Smith and Ellenburg were arrested for unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

They are being held at the Cullman County Detention Center each on a $1.5 million bond.

Cullman City Police Chief Kenny Culpepper said he is thankful for the great job their officers do in keeping the city safe.

“We are glad to get more drugs off the street following proactive police work,” Culpepper said. “Our officers who are out patrolling are our front-line guys, they are the ones that often come into contact directly with what is happening. We are thankful and proud of the good job they are continuing to do for our community.” 

Assistant Police Chief Craig Green said this type of situation paints a picture for what law enforcement can encounter at anytime on the job.

“This is a danger that patrol officers especially, face everyday,” Green said. “I’m certain that the traffic stop started out routinely and following good police work, Matt found the meth lab inside the vehicle. This was one of those things that puts into perspective how officers put their lives on the line. You think you are stopping for someone for something minor, and you find something dangerous like a meth lab. We really appreciate Matt’s hard work and every single patrol officer who does this job everyday knowing what could potentially happen.”

* Lauren Estes can be reached at or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.