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A search of a Henry County home during a drug investigation by sheriff’s deputies led to the discovery of explosives.

Henry County Sheriff William Maddox said investigators from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and Abbeville Police Task Force recovered evidence of the production of methamphetamine and explosives after searching a home on Henry County Road 55 in the southeastern area of the county near Columbia.

Maddox said investigators found some mercury switches and pieces of pipe inside the home.

“It’s kind of unusual for this area,” Maddox said. “They went in for drugs and they ran across the ingredients that they thought was a bomb, and then that halted everything. Everybody vacated the premises until the bomb squad arrived.”

Maddox said the mobile home was declared safe after the Dothan police and Houston County bomb squad responded, along with some equipment from the Department of Homeland Security.

“It was just the ingredients they needed to make a bomb,” Maddox said. “I don’t think it was a completed bomb.”

According to a sheriff’s statement, deputies arrested Justin Allen Vandegrift, 23, and charged him with manufacturing an explosive device. Deputies also charged Phillip Wayne Smothers, 44, with manufacturing meth and felony marijuana possession.

In unrelated cases, Henry sheriff’s investigators also recently arrested four other people, including three Ozark residents on drug trafficking charges.

According to a sheriff’s statement, deputies arrested three Ozark residents on meth trafficking charges during a traffic stop on U.S. 431 just north Abbeville. The statement said investigators arrested Tenisa Marie Gumbenberger, 28, David Todd Tyler, 44, and Raymond Phillip Kelley, 42, and charged them all with manufacturing and trafficking meth.

Maddox said Gumpenberger remains held on $185,000 bail, Tyler on $150,000 bail and Kelley on $140,000 bail.

The statement also said deputies recently arrested 27-year-old Steven Ross Nelson on multiple felony charges, which included trafficking meth, manufacturing meth and chemical endangerment of a child. The statement said deputies found an operational clandestine meth lab at his Henry County Road 418 home near the Browns Cross Road community.

Nelson remains held on $230,000 bail at the Henry County Jail.

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