Major meth lab out of operation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 24, 2003

The Covington County 22nd Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force recently assisted with the arrests involving the removal of a major methamphetamine lab and from the Opp area and the arrest of a Greenville man for marijuana possession.

Wednesday, July 23, around midnight, Andalusia Police Officer David Mock, assisted by Andalusia Police Officer Jackie Woods, initiated a traffic stop of McGarrick Powell of Greenville for an improper light near Palmer's Body Shop on U.S. Hwy. 84 West. During the traffic stop, Mock noticed the odor of alcohol and marijuana emanating from the subject's automobile.

During a pat down for weapons, Powell reached into his shoe and threw out an amount of marijuana into a grassy area on the side of the road, according to one DTF official. The marijuana was eventually recovered the official said.

The DTF official went on to say that during the arrest, it was discovered that Powell had a prior conviction for marijuana possession, so he was charged with possession of marijuana in the first degree and possession of drug paraphernalia. The possession of marijuana charge carries a bond of $10,000, and the paraphernalia charge carries a bond of $3,000. The official also added that Powell's charge was a Class C Felony, and under the Alabama Habitual Offender Act, Powell has one more time to be charged, and then he could receive life in prison automatically.

"It's similar to the '3 strikes and your out' law, but in Alabama, on the fourth time, it is life in prison," the DTF official said.

Later Wednesday, the DTF was able to eliminate another methamphetamine lab from the confines of Covington County when three people were arrested in connection with the manufacturing and distribution of a controlled substance.

According to the DTF official, agents arrived around 6 p.m. at the Rosalie Ave. home of Billy Earl Pierce, 59, of Opp after receiving a report of a suspicious act at the residence, possibly related to narcotics.

Upon arriving at the house, DTF agents obtained permission to search the premises, including the out-buildings. During the search, the agents located two separate bi-layered liquids, believed to be meth oil, in excess of 500 grams. Also discovered were other products associated with the manufacturing process of methamphetamine.

During the search, and subsequent arrest, two other individuals were arrested. They were Bobby Joe Hattaway Jr., 36, also of Opp, and 29-year-old Jason George Millay, also of Opp.

"Pierce was charged with trafficking a controlled substance, which carries a $1 million bond; manufacturing in the first degree, which carries a $350,000 bond; possession of paraphernalia, which carries a $20,000 bond, and possession of marijuana, which carries another $20,000 bond," the official said. "Pierce was also charged with 'Certain persons forbidden to possess a pistol - a Class C Felony, which carries a $10,000 bond. He was in possession of a .25 caliber handgun, and marijuana, which prompted the other charges."

Hattaway and Millay were arrested and charged with trafficking a controlled substance, with a $1 million bond; manufacturing a controlled substance, $350,000 bond, and possession of drug paraphernalia, $20,000 bond.

"There is still an ongoing investigation into this matter, and we fully anticipate other arrests to be made in the very near future," the DTF official said. "We really hurt the meth production in Opp with this bust, and we're very pleased with getting something like this off the streets. We cannot overlook the assistance of the Opp Police Department and Covington County Sheriff's Department for their assistance in this matter, either."