DTF busts 3 for meth lab

Published 8:17 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012


A Thursday drug bust by Drug Task Force agents spanned two cities and put three in jail for allegedly operating a Florala meth lab.

DTF Commander Mark Odom said the case began when Jessica Lawhorn, a Florala police officer and the newest DTF agent, received information that Alma Payton, 35, and Carolyn Butler, 58, were buying ingredients for Jerry Butler, 29, to allegedly cook methamphetamine.

Odom said after agents confirmed all three were on the list for purchasing pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth, agents knocked on the door of Payton’s Seventh Avenue home.

“As soon as Ms. Payton opened the door, we could see Jerry Butler running through the house,” Odom said. “We later found him hiding in a closet.”

Odom said a search of the home revealed what appeared to be meth oil, an active one-pot meth cook and other chemicals used in manufacturing meth – as well as Payton’s two children, who were referred to the department of human resources and placed with family members.

Agents arrested Ms. Butler at her Lockhart home on Rappahannock Street. She is charged with manufacture of a controlled substance II. She was booked into the Covington County Jail and held on a $250,000 bond.

Payton and Mr. Butler were each charged with manufacturing I, possession of a controlled substance and felony possession of drug paraphernalia; booked into the county jail and held on a $350,000 bond.

Odom credited Lawhorn, the first female DTF agent ever, with the arrests.

“Agent Lawhorn started to work with us last Monday,” Odom said. “So, to say that she hit the ground running is a gross understatement. As soon as she walked in the office door, she got the information and went with it.

“We have been hearing Jerry Butler’s name for a while, and (Lawhorn’s) knowledge and connection to Florala enabled us to shut down his cook,” he said.