Comments Off on DEA, Sheriff’s Office charge 4 in connection with meth lab in St. Lucie

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Four people were arrested Tuesday after law enforcement officials served a search warrant at an apparent methamphetamine manufacturing site on Tumblin Kling Road just west of U.S. 1, according to affidavits released Wednesday.

St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials about 1:20 p.m. searched an address in the 500 block of Tumblin Kling Road.

In recent months, sheriff’s officials and police in Port St. Lucie have shut down a number of meth labs.

“All of the sudden we’ve been getting a lot of information on this type of activity (meth use and production),” Sheriff’s Detective Andrew Bolonka said Wednesday. “We haven’t really experienced that in this county, and now all of the sudden it’s kind of reared its ugly head on us.”

Residents David Selph and Babette Bishop, both 43, each were arrested on felony counts of amphetamine manufacturing and amphetamine possession and a misdemeanor count each of possession of drug paraphernalia. They were identified as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Richard Cook, 22, of the 4900 block of Elm Avenue in Fort Pierce, and Bryan Kelley, 25, of the 2400 block of Southwest Roney Road in Port St. Lucie, each were arrested on a felony methamphetamine manufacturing charge. Kelley also was arrested on a possession of drug paraphernalia charge.

Bolonka speculated the uptick in methamphetamine incidents could stem from the crackdown on prescription pills, such as oxycodone, and the low cost to produce meth.

In the recent case, Kelley was identified as the primary meth cook, who “directed others as to the time line of when it was possible to make more purchases of pseudoephedrine.” Pseudoephedrine can be used in making meth.

Bolonka said Wednesday that federal rules govern the amount of pseudoephedrine that can be purchased within 30 days. Purchases of more than 9 grams within 30 days are not allowed.

Bolonka said people must provide identification when buying pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter medication. He said sometimes several people will buy pseudoephedrine to bring back to the cook.

Selph tried 44 times to buy pseudoephedrine in five months, while Bishop made 25 attempts, affidavits state. Kelley made 34 attempts in seven months and Cook made 12 tries in three months, affidavits state.

About a gram of meth was recovered in Selph’s and Bishop’s bedroom.

Bolonka said a gram of cocaine could be used by a person in a day, but the same amount of meth could get several people high for three or more days.

Kelley declined to speak with investigators, who turned up reaction vessels, hoses, powders and liquids.

Selph said he allowed Kelley to “perform the cook process on the porch area of the house only.” Selph said Kelley was the main cook and instructed others how to make meth.

Bolonka said his agency partners with the DEA in meth lab cases because the DEA has the funds and expertise to dismantle them.

“It’s a very hazardous investigation because of the chemicals and the gases and the explosive nature of these type of labs,” he said.

David Selph<br />

David Selph

Babette Bishop<br />
Babette Bishop

Richard Cook<br />
Richard Cook

Bryan Kelley<br />
Bryan Kelley

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