Investigators with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department following up on a tip found six people inside a residence where a clandestine methamphetamine lab was operating over the weekend; all six were arrested on methamphetamine-related charges.
Early Sunday morning, the Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant at 197 Lina Harvey Road, which is located off Highway 91 in the Stoney Creek community of Carter County. Prior to making entry and after announcing law enforcement’s presence, officers said they heard several noises consistent with opening and closing objects coming from the residence. They also heard several footsteps, especially out of one room that was closest to the back porch.
Deputy Andy Bean said he saw Rodney Adkins, Jeffrey Scott, Chad Wright, Robin Whitehead and Amy Morton exit the room from its only interior door. “Upon making entry into the residence deputies discovered five individuals exiting a room at the residence where deputies suspect meth was getting ready to be manufactured,” Sheriff Chris Mathes said.
Investigator Harmon Duncan said officers searched the residence and located coffee filters, salts, Coleman lantern fuel, empty pseudoephedrine blister packs, bottles containing a substance consistent with the “one pot” method of cooking methamphetamine, lithium batteries, digital scales and ammonia nitrate. The items were found throughout the residence, with a majority of the items located in the room where Bean saw the subjects exit.
Officers also found ephedrine inside the home.
“A portable plastic case was also found which contained all of the necessary ingredients to manufacture methamphetamine,” Mathes said. “The case is suspected of being used by the group as a mobile meth lab.”
All of the individuals inside were sitting in the living area when officers searched the residence. A cut ink pen with white powder residue was found hidden in a clothes basket near one of the subjects, identified as Wright.
Rodney Adkins allegedly admitted to officers that he had recently cooked meth at or near the residence. A Tennessee Methamphetamine Information System (TMIS) report, which tracks sales of pseudoephedrine, allegedly showed that Adkins had purchased the drug at least 11 times in Carter County in 2011. Adkins’ wife, JoAnn, allegedly made 10 purchases of pseudoephedrine, which is one of the key ingredients to manufacture meth.
“Rodney stated to officers he had purchased pseudoephedrine to cook meth to include recent cooks or to trade for money to other known cooks on these purchases,” a court affidavit states.
JoAnn Adkins told officer she had purchased pseudoephedrine at her husband’s request, but said she had no idea he was cooking meth.
“During the investigation, we learned two minor children live in the home, but they were not present when this incident occurred,” Duncan stated in the affidavit.
Officers were on scene for several hours as they took each of the six individuals into custody on various methamphetamine charges, decontaminated the residence and dismantled the meth lab. Capt. Tom Smith said the property has also been quarantined.
Rodney Alan Adkins Sr., 45, and JoAnn Lynn Adkins, 42, both of 197 Lina Harvey Road, were charged with promoting the manufacture of meth, maintaining a dwelling and initiating the process to manufacture meth.
Robin Denise Whitehead, 37, of 104 Bailey St., Hampton; Jeffrey Scott, 38, of 115 Paul Peters Road, Elizabethton; Amy Michelle Morton, 37, of 105 Betty St., Hampton; and Chad Edward Wright, 39, of 617 Ryder Church Road, Bluff City, were also arrested and charged with initiating the process to manufacture meth. In addition, Wright was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia for allegedly possessing the cut ink pen with white powder residue.
All six individuals are scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Jan. 23, 2011, at 9 a.m. before Judge John Walton. They are currently being held in the Carter County Jail under bond. Mathes said the investigation is continuing.
Officers first went to the Stoney Creek residence after a lead from an accident in Elizabethton on Saturday afternoon. In the accident, Forrest James Gentry, 23, of 220 S. Sycamore St., admitted to officers that he and his passenger, Rodney Alan Adkins Jr., 22, had smoked methamphetamine.
Gentry was traveling on W. G Street when his vehicle crossed the center line and struck an oncoming vehicle head-on. As a result, Elizabethton Police Department Ptl. Doug Combs charged him with three counts of vehicular assault.
In addition to the two men admitting to smoking meth one and a half hours prior to the crash, officers said they found a glass pipe and other drug paraphernalia in the vehicle. Gentry told officers they used the pipe and paraphernalia to smoke the meth. Combs said Adkins, of the Lina Harvey Road address, has not been issued a summons because he was still being treated at the Johnson City Medical Center, but he will be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
The EPD learned Gentry and his passenger received the meth from a Stoney Creek residence, but the two men would not provide the address. The EPD provided the CCSD the information, which led to the Sunday morning raid.