PERRY TOWNSHIP —
Drug agents arrested five people Friday at a Perry Township home - the site of what agents called four active methamphetamine labs.
Mercer County Drug Task Force agents searched 237 Carey Road, Perry Township, according to court documents.
While specifics of how agents were alerted to the site and what they found were not released by the state Attorney General’s Office, and The Herald was unable to obtain the affidavit for a search warrant, affidavits of probable cause attached to criminal complaints said police found four active labs, two marijuana plants, equipment to make amphetamine, a High Point .45-caliber handgun and paraphernalia used to ingest, store and package meth.
Arrested were Sarah A Hetrick, 30, of 59 Thompson Road, Perry Township; Callie T. Bothun, 35, of 10 S. Second St., Greenville; Donald D, Sturgin, 35, of 237 Carey Road; Jesse A. Sullivan, 32, of 1911 Bachop Road, Sheakleyville; and Aaron W. Allmon, 34, of Orwell, Ohio.
All of the defendants were arraigned by District Judge Brian Arthur, Greenville, dressed in plastic suits over top of their street clothes. Allmon had blue stains on his crew-cut head and ears.
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant — known informally as an upper — and is highly addictive, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Its various forms, which can be smoked, injected, snorted or swallowed, are known under slang names such as ice, crystal meth and crank.
Meth labs are notorious because of the hazardous chemicals that can be used in making the drug — including battery acid, antifreeze, lye and drain cleaner — and have been known to explode.
Agents did not say if any of those chemicals were found at the Carey Road site, but a charge of causing or risking a catastrophe alleges the presence of harmful and hazardous materials used in making meth. An agent told the defendants that the property is contaminated and no one will be allowed in the house.
Aside from the immediate dangers the chemicals pose to people who enter meth labs, the chemicals can contaminate drinking water, soil and air, and children exposed to meth labs have suffered health problems, NIDA said.
Agents said a child, the son of one of the defendants, was in the home during the search.
Bothun, Sturgin, Sullivan and Allmon were arraigned in the courtroom, while Arthur went outside to a Mercer County sheriff’s van to arraign Hetrick.
All were taken to Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond. Arthur set bond at $550,000 for Sturgin, and $500,000 each for the rest.
The five were each charged with operating a meth lab; manufacture of meth and pot with intent to deliver; manufacture of meth when a child was present; possession of meth, two pot plants and drug paraphernalia; conspiracy to manufacture and possess meth; causing a catastrophe; reckless endangerment; and endangering the welfare of a child.
Sturgin was charged with aggravated assault for his actions against members of the entry team when the search was executed at 7:10 a.m.
Bothun and Allmon were charged with prohibited possession of a firearm because they have previous convictions that render them unable to possess a gun.
“I had a firearm? What?” said Bothun, when Arthur read the charge. “I have no idea about a firearm.”
She asked the others if a gun was present, then told Arthur, “I’m bewildered. I don’t know where they found a gun.”
Arthur set a preliminary hearing for 1 p.m. July 30 before District Judge Lorinda M. Hinch, Mercer.
PERRY TOWNSHIP —
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