Sunday raid in Green Forest nets meth lab; three charged in Green Forest Police, Sheriff's Department joint operation

Wednesday, June 4, 2003
Carroll County investigator Ralph Gordon wore a hazardous material suit to process a suspected meth lab in Green Forest. From left are Sheriff Chuck Medford, Green Forest officer Carlos Jasso, Deputy Shana Fouts, investigator Alan Hoos and Green Forest Sgt. Brad Handley. CCN / Ken O'Toole

GREEN FOREST ---- Carroll County deputies and Green Forest police raided a home Sunday morning on Juniper Street in Green Forest Estates, which resulted in numerous drug charges filed against three people.

A dozen officers and deputies converged on the house at 1105 Juniper, which belongs to Katrina Kay Marr, 30. She was charged with one count of alleged manufacturing of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, possession of an instrument of crime, hindering apprehension and theft of property.

Green Forest Police Chief John Bailey said Marr's theft charge stems from allegedly stealing electricity for her home, which has had no water or electricity for some time.

Bailey and Sheriff Chuck Medford said the joint operation by both departments had been under investigation for months.

The suspected meth lab uncovered at the house is believed to be the 14th lab in the county and the fourth in Green Forest seized this year, Bailey and Medford said.

Also charged was Christopher Elliott, 28, of Harrison. Elliot was released from Carroll County Jail only a couple of months ago, where he had worked as a trusty at the facility. He was charged with alleged parole violation, manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, hindering apprehension and possession of an instrument of crime.

The third suspect, Charles Hamilton Sr., 41, was charged with alleged probation violation, and possession of an illegal amount of ephedrine, a component used in manufacturing methamphetamine.

The three suspects had been arrested Friday night on some of the charges, and were held in jail while officials got a search warrant for Marr's house.

The house was under surveillance throughout Saturday while the search warrant was obtained.

About 10 a.m. Sunday morning, a long line of police cars surrounded the residence in the quiet subdivision.

Yellow crime scene tape surrounded the house as county investigators Ralph Gordon and Alan Hoos began to process the scene and search the house with the aid of Green Forest police officers Sgt. Brad Handley, Carlos Jasso, Tommy Hayden and Chief Bailey. County deputies included Jason Hunt, Shana Fouts, Daniel Klatt, John Deniz, and Sheriff Medford.

A late-model Mustang belonging to Marr was parked on the lawn and a white pickup truck allegedly belonging to Hamilton was parked in the driveway.

Both vehicles were searched, and an all-day inspection of the house and a garbage bin in the yard produced what Gordon said was a suspected meth lab and chemicals and other drug paraphernalia.

Numerous dangerous and caustic chemicals were secured and logged by the investigators, and a hazardous material truck contracted by the state was called in by the Drug Enforcement Administration to haul away the chemicals and lab at Sheriff Medford's request.

Bailey said, "a lab as small as this can cost as much as $10,000 just to clean up, not counting the overtime and huge amount of paperwork that's involved in one lab bust."

Investigator Gordon, who is certified as a meth lab processor, wore heavy gloves and a hazardous material suit to process the suspected lab, but he still experienced a tense moment when a dirty needle pierced the glove and pricked his finger.

Fearing the hepatitis virus or AIDS virus could be on the needle, Gordon was treated at the scene with special antiseptic. He said he wasn't sure if the needle pierced his skin, but "I feel a tingling sensation," he said.

The search and operation lasted all day and into the evening, as investigators logged evidence set up on a county computer and sealed evidence for processing at the state lab.

Two children were believed to spend some time with Marr at the residence, but were not present during the investigation.

Medford said, "This is another example of working together to get the job done. We work well with Green Forest, and these arrests will continue."

When the three suspects were initially arrested the night before the raid, one officer said, Marr allegedly told officers that Hamilton wasn't there, but he was found hiding in the back, resulting in Marr being charged with hindering apprehension.

Elliott allegedly tried to escape across the field but was allegedly caught on the run by deputies Klatt and Hunt.

Hunt, the sheriff's K-9 officer, said he couldn't use his drug dog to help in the search because the chemical agents allegedly found in the house could hurt him.

Gordon allegedly found hoses that tested positive for what appeared to be meth residue, and many other chemicals and precursors used to make the drug were also present. He said rags soaked in dangerous chemicals were allegedly found in the washroom area of the home.

Both the Mustang and the pickup truck were seized by authorities.

All three suspects remained in jail Monday morning awaiting bail and probable cause hearings.

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