December 14, 2001

Drug bust

* Jack Eschelman, 25, 1978 Ackersoon Creek Road, Mountain City, was arrested Wednesday by agents of the 1st Judicial District Drug Task Force and another man is being sought in connection with manufacturing methamphetamine. According to Kenneth Phillips, DTF director, around 8 p.m. Tuesday, DTF and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents along with Johnson County Sheriff's Department deputies executed a search warrant at the home of Jeremy Duke Snyder, 24, 483 Forge Creek Road, Mountain City. Agents found a clandestine lab, hazardous materials and chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine. No one was home. Around 3:50 a.m. Wednesday, Johnson County 911 received a call regarding a house fire at the home of Eschelman. Deputies responding to the scene recognized that the fire had started from a methamphetamine lab. DTF and TBI agents were called in and Eschelman was arrested by Johnson County deputies and charged with one count of manufacturing methamphetamine. He was being held in Johnson County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond with a preliminary hearing set Jan. 30 in Johnson County General Sessions Court. Warrants were issued for Snyder, charging him with one count of attempting to manufacture methamphetamine and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Laurel Bloomery Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire at Eschelman's mobile home, which was a loss. Because of the hazardous materials involved, authorities estimate cleanup costs at about $10,000.

   * Shanta Mullins, 21, of Bluff City was arrested Tuesday by members of Bluff City Police Department following a drug investigation. According to Chief of Police Ken Potter, a prescription was presented to CVS Pharmacy in Piney Flats by a white female on Nov. 12 for 30 OxyContin. On Nov. 30, the same female appeared at the pharmacy attempting to pass a second prescription for the same amount. The pharmacy did not honor the prescription. On Dec. 4, Chief Potter said, he received a call from Dr. T.P. Cruz Jr. in Elizabethton regarding someone forging a prescription by using a prescription pad from a doctor who had been in practice at his clinic. Potter said the suspect attempted to use her TennCare card to pay for the drugs and was denied. She then paid cash for the OxyContin. Mullins was arrested Tuesday by Sgt. David Nelson and charged with two counts of passing a forged prescription and two counts of fraud. A second suspect is being sought.