Drug Lab Busted On Ocmulgee WMA

GON Staff | July 16, 2000

A makeshift lab for producing methamphetamines was busted recently on Ocmulgee WMA.

On Saturday, April 8, Ocmulgee WMA Area Manager Randy Wood noticed tire tracks leading to a gated road. He investigated and found that the cable blocking the road had been cut and then hung to look like the road leading to a food plot was still blocked.

Randy entered the area and located a camouflaged campsite hidden in the trees at the edge of the food plot. There he found car batteries, gas cylinders and other paraphernalia for producing methamphetamines. Randy exited the area and contacted DNR Law Enforcement Sgt. Dan Parrish who heads the Covert Unit.

On Monday, April 10, officers from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the DNR visited the lab and confirmed that it was still in operation.

The campsite was put under surveillance during daylight hours with the use of specialized electronics.

DEA agents in protective gear display methamphetamines confiscated on Ocmulgee WMA.

The following Saturday morning fresh tracks were found leading to the lab. Further investigation showed that someone had visited the lab between 12:40 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. and a batch of methamphetamines had been cooked up. Several chairs and tables had been removed, leading investigators to believe that the lab was about to be moved. The site was put under 24-hour surveillance.

According to DNR, at 7:15 p.m. on the same day, two men driving a green Chrysler van drove up to the gated road, dropped the gate and entered the area after replacing the cable. They stayed on the site long enough to produce another batch of drugs then packed up and headed out to find out about other drug rehabs.

Waiting at the gate were officers from the DEA, GBI, WRD and the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Department.

As the suspects approached the gate, they found the road blocked by a law-enforcement vehicle. The driver reportedly threw the van into reverse, but before the vehicle moved, more than 10 officers fell in on the van and pulled the two suspects out. The two suspects were not armed.

The driver was identified as Clark Mitchell, 37, of Bonaire. The passenger was Troy Thomason, 39, of Warner Robins. Both men were charged with manufacturing a controlled substance. Mitchell has previous charges pending against him in Houston County for possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamines.

Officers believe the drugs the men produced were for distribution locally.

According to Dan Parrish, 17 methamphetamine labs were found in Georgia during 1999. During 2000, to date, 70 labs have been found.

Indicators of a drug lab may include finding camouflaged camps with a strong chemical odor; the presence of glass jars; the presence of ether, starter fluid, anhydrous ammonia or lantern fluid. Alkaline batteries cut open so that the components may be used are also an indicator of a meth lab. If you locate such a site, leave the area and contact the local law enforcement agency.

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