2 arrested after search by CCSO

Monday, November 10, 2003
Sheriff Chuck Medford held a Ruger pistol in his left hand Wednesday and two bags of processed marijuana in his right hand after a search south of Berryville that resulted in the arrest of two people. CCN / Ken O'Toole

A warrant arrest for aggravated assault and other charges turned into the county's 25th methamphetamine lab bust of the year on Wednesday, when deputies serving the warrant at the David Harp residence south of Berryville discovered more than they had anticipated.

The pre-dawn incident resulted in the arrest of Harp, 27, on the warrant charges of possession of firearms by a felon, aggravated assault and first-degree false imprisonment.

But during Harp's arrest at about 5 a.m. near the Metalton cutoff on County Road 734, according to Sheriff Chuck Medford, investigators and deputies noticed in "plain sight" a suspected methamphetamine lab and marijuana.

Investigators halted their warrant search which was specifically for weapons related to the aggravated assault incident only, and immediately sought a warrant to search for drugs at the garage and home, occupied by Harp, his wife Patricia, 37, and several children.

When the drug search warrant was obtained, investigator Ralph Gordon said deputies found a medium-sized red phosphorous methamphetamine lab, up to a dozen pounds of processed and unprocessed marijuana, drug paraphernalia, methamphetamine, and several weapons.

The search continued through the day Wednesday, and Gordon notified the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which sent a contract clean-up crew from Tulsa to dispose of the dangerous chemicals.

At the time of Wednesday's raid, Harp was out on bond awaiting a bed in the state prison system for a conviction earlier this year for manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of firearms and drugs, and other charges. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 10 years suspended in that case.

At the time of the arrest last May, Harp was on probation for previous felony charges. His wife Patricia was arrested in May on drug charges and endangering the welfare of a minor.

She was arrested Wednesday on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Gordon and Investigator Larry Marr said the lab seized on Wednesday was capable of making more than a pound of methamphetamine in 36 to 48 hours before it would need to be restocked with the ingredients needed to make more of the drug.

Marr said a pound of meth could be broken down into 16 ounces, selling at about $1,500 an ounce, or could have been broken down further to a "retail" street price of $100 to $120 a gram, with 28 grams in an ounce bringing in at least $2,800 in drug money per ounce.

The original warrant for aggravated assault and false imprisonment was part of a case in which it was alleged that Harp and another man, Bobby Joe Whiteley, 36, had held a person at gunpoint against their will for some time.

Later in the day, Medford was at Cedar Creek store on Highway 21 South having a cup of coffee and telling someone that investigators were still seeking Whiteley, when Whiteley pulled his vehicle into the store parking lot, and Medford spotted him.

Medford said Whitely spotted Medford's car and took off, but Medford jumped in his vehicle and gave chase, pulling him over a short time later and arresting Whiteley without incident.

David and Patricia Harp and Whitely remained in custody in Carroll County Jail Wednesday, awaiting a bond hearing.

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