Authorities Search Oconee Home for Meth

Roadways leading to the Moreland Heights Road address were closed Friday evening.

On a rainy Friday evening, a Hazardous Materials Team from Athens-Clarke County donned protective gear and headed into a home on Moreland Heights Road in Oconee County to test substances authorities believe may be components of a meth lab.

Deputies and Oconee County firefighters set up a perimeter around the home as the HazMat team readied for the search, but no surrounding homes were evacuated.

"We have what we believe to be an active meth lab here," Lee Weems, chief deputy of the , said at the scene.

If their suspicions are confirmed, it will be the third meth lab in two days tied to 22-year-old Billy Joe Shealy, Jr., the tenant of the 1081 Moreland Heights Road home.

Shealy was booked into the Oconee County Jail on drug-related charges Thursday after a deputy during a routine traffic stop in the Oconee Plaza parking lot on Hog Mountain Road.

Later that night, investigators where more materials and meth were discovered, authorities said. Barrow County deputies detained Shealy's father, Billy Joe Shealy Sr., 46, of Monroe, and Connie Lee Krachinski, 47, of Pinson, Ala.

Shealy Sr. is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and was also placed under arrest for an outstanding warrant in Hall County. Krachinski was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Another woman was taken into custody Friday evening at the Moreland Heights house, Weems said.

"[Shealy Jr.'s] girlfriend, as we arrived, was coming out of the house with components from the meth lab," he explained. The woman's name was not immediately released. Update 8/14/11: In an article on Sunday, the Athens Banner-Herald identified the woman as 22-year-old Tiffany Elrod.

Weems said authorities were more concerned about the Moreland Heights incident than the others.

"The chemicals are very volitile, highly explosive, and so if something were to cause them to ignite, it would be a problem," he said. "Also inhaling them is very dangerous."

The full scope of how far the case reaches is still unknown, he said.

"Throughout all of this we've located stolen property from known burglaries in Oconee County," he explained.  "We've located other items to believe that we've got property taken in other states, and that could have some far reaching implications."

If additional stolen property is found in the home, it will have to be cataloged, Weems said.

"It looks like it will be another long night," he said.


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