By Benjamin Bullard
The Cullman Times
Narcotics officers’ second visit in as many months to an alleged gathering place for the manufacture of ‘shake-and-bake’ portable methamphetamine yielded three arrests Friday.
Phillip Blackwood, 40; Jerica Self, 20, and Donna Townson, 48, are each in the Cullman County detention center on a single charge of unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance — a charge that carries a mandatory $1 million bond.
The site of the alleged meth cook, an RV located on County Road 397 (Old Ala. Highway 69), is a familiar one to police. The Cullman Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) made two manufacturing arrests at the same location only six weeks ago. One of the two arrested last month was Townson, who — to the cops’ frustration — had already negotiated her freedom since her earlier arrest.
This time, CNET officers approached the RV — owned by Blackwood — Friday with a search warrant, as well as two standing arrest warrants on manufacturing charges for Blackwood.
After uncovering evidence suggesting he allegedly was involved in manufacturing the drug around the time of their arrival, police added another manufacturing charge, bringing Blackwood’s total counts to three — and his bond to $3 million.
Self and Townson were also at the property, and, according to Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey, police established sufficient probable cause from what they observed to arrest them, along with Blackwood, on the spot.
“There were three ‘spent’ labs in the RV, and there was a quantity of finished product,” he said Monday. “Also present were all the materials needed to make meth. The officers concluded, based on the evidence, that all of these individuals were participants in the criminal drug activity that was going on.”
Rainey said his department has been especially attentive to activity around the RV since responding to local complaints and investigating the property in late 2012. Townson and another woman, 38-year-old Carisa Corbin, were charged with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance after CNET confiscated the drug, along with ‘shake-and-bake’ portable meth labs allegedly in their possession, at the same site on Dec. 4 of last year.
“The job of law enforcement is to arrest people when they break the law, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Rainey. “We’re going to enforce the law. What happens to people after they’re arrested is out of our hands. If they are let go, and they go back to doing the same thing, we’re going to arrest them again.”
* Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.