Though his predecessor Pat Kelly was well known for his die-hard drug policy, Athens County Sheriff Rodney Smith has augmented that policy tremendously in the past year.
Earlier this week, the sheriff’s office discovered and secured two meth labs and tackled a suspected drug trafficking operation, according to various news releases Monday.
On Jan. 7, the sheriff’s office responded to a call of a “suspicious backpack” on Taylor Ridge Road in Glouster, according to a news release. Deputies identified the items in the backpack as vital ingredients for methamphetamine and contacted the Athens County Major Crimes Unit.
Members of the Major Crimes Unit identified the contents of the bag as a “one pot” meth lab, which commonly uses a hydrogen chloride gas generator to produce meth, according to the release.
Sheriff’s deputies identified and contained another meth lab the next day. Deputies responded to a call of another suspicious backpack in Happy Valley Trailer Park on Baker Road in Athens.
The backpack had been hidden underneath a baby crib in the rear of the residence, according to reports, and had probably remained there since Jan. 6. Deputies said they thought that three children had been playing in the room while the lab was present.
Agents with the Major Crimes Unit found elements necessary to create a meth lab in the backpack, and noted that the lab was “at one of its most flammable points during the methamphetamine making process,” when recovered. The Richland Area Fire Department was asked to come to the scene to provide emergency services if needed.
The same day, members of the Major Crimes Unit conducted an investigation of a possible drug trafficking ring in Nelsonville. With the assistance of the Hocking County Major Crimes Unit agents and Fairfield County felony probation officers, Athens agents interviewed various residents of a Canal Street apartment.
While interviewing a suspect who was on probation for drug trafficking in Fairfield County, officers noticed a bag of pills fall from his wife’s pant leg, according to the release. Deputies suspected she had tried to hide the pills when they entered the residence.
Sheriff’s deputies confiscated 85 pills, suspected to be OxyContin, along with a small amount of marijuana, a pipe and various electronic devices allegedly used for trafficking.
The report added that the drugs were suspected to come from Columbus. The case remains under investigation.