Traffic stop turns up rolling meth lab, police say

Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Lawmen examine possible evidence of a meth lab after a traffic stop Saturday. At left is officer Jimmy Capps, then Ralph Gordon of the sheriff's office, state investigator Tracy Spencer and officer Kevin Disheroon. CCN / Ken O'Toole

BERRYVILLE ---- A traffic stop on Hailey Road Saturday evening turned into another methamphetamine bust as an alleged meth lab was seized from a vehicle.

Investigators said the portable anhydrous ammonia lab was ready to produce between two and nine ounces of meth when Berryville officer Jimmy Capps stopped the vehicle for speeding at Hailey Road and Carter Street.

Capps said the stop occurred at 6:07 p.m., and when he began questioning the driver, Jamie Clark, it was discovered that Clark had a warrant for his arrest on contempt of court charges.

Capps took Clark into custody, and told the passenger, Jay Etchison, 38, of Blue Eye, Mo., to step out of the vehicle.

Both Capps and Berryville officer Kevin Disheroon began to inventory the vehicle before towing it because Etchison did not have a license to drive it away.

Capps said he noticed a number of items in plain view that are sometimes used to manufacture meth, and further inventory of the pickup revealed more items used to make meth. Sheriff's investigators Jason Hunt and Ralph Gordon, and state investigator Tracy Spencer, who are certified meth lab investigators, assisted in identifying the components in the vehicle.

The components included dry ice, rubber tubing and numerous other components for a lab.

Capps said that the passenger, Etchison, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, and Clark was arrested only on the warrant.

After talking to the suspects individually, Capps said, he was satisfied that the meth components belonged to Etchison. Capps said Etchison allegedly admitted the contraband was his, "and I believe that's the case," Capps said.

One of the investigators said it appeared that the suspect was just about ready to start making meth.

Capps said he may start proceedings to confiscate the older Chevrolet truck.

Etchison was still in custody at Carroll County Jail Monday awaiting a bond hearing.

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