Two Small-Scale Meth Labs Found in House on Old Bishop Road
A resident of the home is already in the Oconee County Jail on a probation violation charge from another county, authorities report.
What started as a check on complaints of problematic dogs turned into a cleanup of two small-scale methamphetamine labs at 1031 Old Bishop Road on Monday.
Shortly after noon, Oconee County Animal Control officers responded to several calls of dogs running at large around the home, observed something known to be drug paraphernalia and called the Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Scott Berry said.
"Deputy (Josh) Elrod arrived and saw some things consistent with what we believed was a meth lab at the time," he said. "We put the house under surveillance and drafted a search warrant, and we've been inside the house."
Two separate, small, portable labs were found when the warrant was executed around 4 p.m., he said.
"The lab components are scattered throughout the house, so it takes a while to go through. It's not neat and orderly; it's not a lab like people think of," Berry explained. "It's a series of plastic bottles that have been used to create methamphetamine using (pseudoephedrine), lithium batteries and other chemicals that are mixed in combination to generate methamphetamine.'
Though relatively small, the labs are corrosive and dangerous, he said, and a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) team from Atlanta will clean up, a process expected to take several hours.
"Right now, with the size of the labs and the components that we found, we don't feel like any of the neighbors are in eminent danger," he said. "Obviously we have an ambulance and a fire truck on standby in the unlikely event we have a problem, but we don't expect to have one."
The small-scale labs would still generate enough meth to sell, he said.
A resident of the home, Christopher J. Sumner, 47, is currently behind bars in the Oconee County Jail since his arrest on Jan. 28 on a probation violation charge from Newton County, Chief Deputy Lee Weems said.
As of Monday evening, Sumner had not been charged in connection with the meth lab incident; investigations continue, he said.
In November 2011, Sumner was charged in Oconee County with criminal attempt to commit theft by taking, possession of burglary tools and loitering and prowling. A deputy saw him purchase gloves at RaceTrac later caught him behind the GSI Global Synergy, Inc. building in the 8700 block of Macon Highway, allegedly dismantling an air conditioning unit, according to previous reports.