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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Clerk of Courts' Son Arrested after Meth Lab Found in his Home

Clerk of Courts' son arrested after meth lab found in his home
The News Sun by TREY CHRISTY - February 27, 2009

SEBRING, FL -- An illegal trash dumping complaint led to the uncovering of a methamphetamine lab Wednesday and the arrest of five people. Tracee Brown, 18, of Sebring; Joseph Nicklaus, 24, of Lake Placid; Fernando Chaidez, 29, of Fort Meade; and Edwin Townsend, 31, of Avon Park were all charged on Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Dustin Germaine, who reportedly owns the house with his father, Clerk of Courts Bob Germaine, was arrested Friday and booked on the same charges. Wednesday afternoon, Germaine was the subject of a manhunt near the area of his home Wednesday afternoon, but wasn't located then. Germaine was booked into the jail at 5:45 a.m. Friday morning. A representative from the HCSO said that the time listed on the booking sheet, which says that Germaine was booked at 1 p.m. on Thursday, is an error. Items in the trash disposed of at Little Froggies Convenience Store were items used in the production of methamphetamine, said Capt. Randy Labelle of the Highlands County Sheriff's Office. The investigation led to 1108 Denise Ave. where numerous subjects occupied the residence and suspicious activity was noted by the responding officers, said a press release from the HCSO. When officers from the Sebring Police Department, who initially uncovered the operation, were granted access to the residence, "numerous items consistent with a methamphetamine cook were observed in plain view," the press release said.

The SPD and HCSO were joined by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration and served a search warrant on the residence that led to the arrest of the four suspects. Labelle said the type of operation they uncovered is typical. "It's what we are starting to see more and more," he said. It is called a one-cook or one-pot method and is more basic than methamphetamine production methods that have been used in the past. "You don't need all the items the traditional meth lab would see," he said. "It's pretty simple." Numerous items used to manufacture methamphetamine were seized as evidence. Drain cleaner, lighter fluid, tubing, lithium batteries and coffee filters are just a few of the items used to produce the drug that were found in the discarded trash and inside the residence. LaBelle said it appeared that the operation had made previous batches of the drug. While Labelle said the HCSO is not actively looking for anyone specifically, he said the investigation continues. "There is, for the lack of a better word, other people on the radar," he said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Clerks of Courts have immense power and a tremendous responsibility. In New York, the clerks that take their responsibility seriously are under-appreciated but, many times, are forced out in favor of clerks who will help the corruptive forces (judges, guardians and lawyers).

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