Men arrested for pot, meth as officers try to serve a warrant on another

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   JONESBOROUGH - A Carter County man and a Jonesborogh man were arrested on narcotics charges Tuesday night after officers of the Washington County Sheriff's Department found them in possession of narcotics while they were serving an outstanding warrant on a third man who was also taken into custody.
   William K. Largent, 45, of 359 Rockhouse Road, Johnson City and Steven H. Carder, 48, 131 Jenkins Road, Jonesborough were taken into custody at Carder's residence after Sheriff's deputies found marijuana growing in the yard of the residence and located approximately 20 grams of methamphetamine, a Schedule II narcotic.
   According to Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal, deputies had visited the residence on Jenkins Road in Jonesborough to attempt to locate Troy D. Ward, 30, of 222 Bowmantown Road, Limestone. Deputies had received an anonymous tip that Ward, who was wanted on a warrant charging him with failure to appear in court on charges of simple possession, domestic violence and aggravated assault, was at the Jenkins Road residence, Graybeal said.
   According to Graybeal, the officers were given consent by Carder to search the residence for Ward and during that search located 31 marijuana plants growing in the yard of the residence as well as approximately $1,700 in cash and various items of drug paraphernalia including pipes, rolling papers, postal scales and hemostats.
   At that time, Carder was taken into custody and charged with possession of Schedule VI narcotics (marijuana) for resale, the manufacture of Schedule VI narcotics (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia.
   During the search of the residence, Largent was found to be in possession of 20.3 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic handgun. He was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of Schedule II narcotics (methamphetamine) for resale, simple possession of Schedule VI narcotics (marijuana), possession of drug paraphernalia and the unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
   Largent could face a stiffer sentence if he is convicted of the charges due to his being in possession of a firearm when he was charged with possession of methamphetamine. "Any time when you are dealing with methamphetamine under state and federal guidelines and firearms are present it can enhance the sentencing," Graybeal said.
   Carder is currently being held in the Washington County Detention Center on a $32,000 bond. Largent is also being held in the detention center and his bond is set at $52,000. Both are scheduled to appear in Washington County General Sessions Court today at 1:30 p.m.
   Graybeal said that methamphetamine is a growing problem for the area. In recent months, law enforcement officers and agents from the First Judicial Drug Task Force have located and dismantled more than a dozen methamphetamine laboratories in northeast Tennessee.
   "We need the community to help us curb this. It's a growing problem in our area," Graybeal said. "If you think this is going on in your area, call and let us know. If you don't want to give your name that's fine."
   The manufacture of methamphetamine is dangerous, and it poses dangers to officers who go in to investigate possible laboratories. According to information provided by the Washington County Sheriff's Department, for every pound of methamphetamine that is produced approximately five to six pounds of toxic waste is also produced. "It's a very dangerous and poisonous drug," Graybeal said.
   In addition to posing dangers to officers, methamphetamine laboratories also pose dangers to children who may be in the home while the drug is being produced, Graybeal said. "Children have no place in this and anyone who would have a child around this does not care about anyone else," he said, adding that the harsh chemicals used to produce methamphetamine can cause damage to children's lungs.
   According to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, more than 500 children in the state have been taken from their homes after their parents were found manufacturing or using methamphetamine.
   "It's a large problem but we can't give up," Graybeal said. "We have to keep working on it for our children."
   Currently, legislation is being considered in the Tennessee State Legislature that would place regulations on the selling of some of the products that are used to produce the drug.