GRAYSON CO., Va. – Another meth lab bust that shows methamphetamine is a problem in nearly every region of our viewing area.
The Grayson Inn and Suites in the tiny town of Independence is where the latest meth arrest took place.
Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughn spoke with me inside his office.
“Most of our meth in this area is trafficked in from super-labs in Florida and Mexico and we see a great deal of it,” Vaughn said.
Methamphetamine is a blue collar drug, meaning it’s cheap to make; Draino, lantern fuel, anti freeze and battery acid.
Police say last Friday, a police dog sniffed out that drug smell from the motel room.
“We called in a canine officer,” said Vaughn “and searched the outside area of the motel and it hit on a motel room. During a search warrant we ended up seizing 3 ounces of methamphetamine.”
Inside the room, police say they found meth and prescription pills.
Tabitha Phipps, Tara Kennedy, Angela Clontz, Timothy Clontz, and Bradley Cox were flushing the drugs down the toilet. All were arrested and hit with drug charges.
Last month, a gas station in Christiansburg was sealed off until hazardous material teams removed meth found inside a car.
Statistics show most meth-heads are white, working-class folks. Sheriff Vaughn said meth has been a steady problem in his county.
“You know sometimes we’ve made major methamphetamine busts of up to two pounds of methamphetamine just right here in Grayson County,” Vaughn said.
That was within the past couple of years, according to Vaughn.
So how did investigators retrieve the evidence the suspects flushed down the toilet?
Vaughn said maintenance workers pulled out the commode and the drugs were right there, clogging up the toilet.
Five suspects have been arrested on drug charges at a Grayson County motel. Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan said in a news release that county deputies recently observed suspicious activity during the early morning hours at Grayson Inn & Suites on Rainbow Circle in Independence. Cpl. Alan Graham, along with deputies Jordan Johnson and Eric Testerman and drug-sniffing dog Gauge, investigated the case further. Suspects tried to dispose of meth, but police seized clogged toilet. Vaughan said that, while conducting exterior sniffs of motel room doors, Gauge gave a positive alert for the odor of narcotics coming from one of the hotel rooms. Investigator Adam Horton obtained a search warrant for the room. While knocking on the door, officers heard the sound of running water and the commode flushing. Once inside the motel room, it was determined that the commode was stopped up. Vaughan said the commode was removed by members of the Grayson County Maintenance Department, and three ounces of methamphetamine were recovered. The Twin County Drug Task Force responded to the motel to assist with the investigation. According to Vaughan, the investigation netted the arrest of five subjects, the seizure of three ounces of meth, seizure of prescription medication and drug paraphernalia and more than $1,200 in cash. Five suspects were arrested and transported by the New River Valley Regional Jail, including: • Bradley Evan Cox, 31, of Powerhouse Road, Independence • Timothy Eric Clontz, 33, and Angela Danielle Clontz, 30, both of Gooseberry Lane in Fries • Tara Danette Kennedy, 34, Old Quaker Road, Galax • Tabitha Rose Phipps, 33, Beaver Dam Road, Independence. Cox was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute a schedule II drug (meth), the Clontzes each were charged with attempted possession of a controlled substance, Kennedy was charged with one count of possession of a schedule II drug, and Phipps was charged with one count of attempting to sell schedule III narcotics. “I would like to commend everyone involved with this case,” Vaughan said. “Everyone from the initial officer that started the investigation to the members of the Twin County Drug Task Force that investigated the case further did an outstanding job.” Vaughan also commented that he hoped a new bill now before the General Assembly would pass. House Bill 676 would raise the punishment for possession with the intent to distribute more than 28 grams of methamphetamine to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in the Virginia Department of Corrections.