Rolling methamphetamine lab busted

By Lesley Jenkins
star staff
ljenkins@starhq.com

  
Four Johnson County residents, including a juvenile, were arrested Thursday evening on charges associated with operating a methamphetamine lab.
   Officers with the Carter County Sheriff's Department, Elizabethton Police Department and Drug Task Force made the arrests near Burger King on West Elk Avenue after receiving tips from a local merchandiser alerting officers of the possibility of the items sold were sometimes used to manufacture methamphetamine.
   Larry Riffle, 20, 380 Tom Bunton Lane, Butler, was charged with conspiracy to manufacture Schedule II drugs and felony possession of drug paraphernalia.
   Timothy Stanton, 31, 277 Draft Road, Butler, was charged with conspiracy to manufacture Schedule II drugs, felony possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of Schedule II drugs for resale, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and manufacturing Schedule II drugs.
   Jennifer A. Barnes, 18, 215 Draft Road, Butler, was charged with conspiracy to manufacture Schedule II drugs and felony possession of drug paraphernalia.
   A juvenile was also arrested and released to his/her parents, according to DTF Director Kenneth Phillips.
   DTF had received information from the local retailer in Elizabethton and had been surveying the suspects. All four suspects were arrested without incident. HAZMAT was called to clean up liquids found in the vehicle.
   Phillips said, "Methamphetamine is an increasing problem in Johnson County as well as other counties. It is a rising problem, but Johnson County seems to be the worst among the four area counties, because it is a rural county. Labs aren't as easily discovered." He added that many labs are discovered by neighbors, but in Johnson County, a lot of labs are not discovered because many people don't have many nearby neighbors.