A routine traffic stop has uncovered components of meth labs and stolen property in Oconee and Barrow counties and has led to the arrests of three suspects, including a father and son.
Investigations began Thursday around 3 p.m. when an Oconee deputy pulled over the driver of a small pickup truck in the Oconee Plaza shopping center parking lot on Hog Mountain Road. According to Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry, the deputy became suspicious of materials visible in the bed of the truck and a Hazadous Materials Team was brought in to . Field tests confirmed the presence of the drug and materials used in its manufacture, Chief Deputy Lee Weems said Thursday night, and the materials were being packaged for disposal.
Billy Joe Shealy, Jr., 22, of Price Mill Road, was booked into the on drug-related charges, Weems said, adding that additional charges are pending.
Following leads, authorities later discovered a suspected meth lab in a Statham auto repair shop at 1840 Hog Mountain Road, a news release from the Barrow County Sheriff's Office explained. Billy Joe Shealy Sr., 46, of Monroe, and Connie Lee Krachinski, 47, of Pinson, Ala., were jailed in Barrow.
Shealy 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.
“The process of manufacturing methamphetamine poses a danger to not only the people involved, but to anyone around the location of the clandestine lab,” Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith said in the news release. “Individuals who come to Barrow County and are involved in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine will be located, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Items, including watches, identified from an Oconee County burglary were also found at the scenes, Weems said. Investigators continue to process and catalog evidence found in both the truck and auto shop that may be linked to additional thefts, he noted.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we were working on this for several more days," Weems said.