Poplar Street meth lab bustedPublished 6:49pm Wednesday, July 10, 2013
When 21st Judicial Drug Task Force Agent Scott Walden took off his gas mask and gave the all clear, Atmore Police Officers Ryan James and Isaac Lopez were able to lead 51-year-old Ronald Terry Johnson to a waiting police car. Walden’s sign let the officers know the meth lab they had just found inside Johnson’s home was no longer a threat.
Walden said drug task force agents and Atmore police officers found the lab, as well as ingredients for further methamphetamine “cooking,” inside Johnson’s 601 E. Poplar Street residence Wednesday around 6 p.m. after numerous complaints from neighbors gave them reason to investigate further.
“We had a lot of complaints from neighbors, so I came out here for four or five hours last night and saw a lot of traffic at the house,” Walden said.”It looks like we got him when he was about to start cooking.”
Walden said agents discovered the lab itself in time to avert any serious danger.
“We knew it was in here somewhere,” he said. “Fortunately, they found it in the bathroom before someone knocked it over.”
Walden said Johnson was in possession of materials consistent with meth production, including a large amount of batteries, liquid fire, Coleman fuel, Sudafed and an ice compress used to extract ammonium nitrate.
“He has his fuel in this glass jar,” Walden said pointing to Johnson’s stove top. “This is one of the most dangerous ways to cook meth, because if it explodes, you have glass shards going everywhere.”
Walden said Johnson will be transported to the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton, where he will be charged with manufacturing a controlled substance (meth) in the first degree; three counts of possession of a controlled substance (meth, Xanax, Soma); possession of drug paraphernalia. Walden said Johnson could also face federal charges after three 22 caliber revolvers and a 22 caliber rifle, as well as ammunition, were found in his home. As a convicted felon, Walden said Johnson could face up to five years per weapon.
As of Friday, Johnson was still in jail at the Escambia County Detention Center on $30,000 bond.