Methamphetamine lab seized in Leachville
Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at 120 McNamee Street in Leachville where members of the Leachville Police Department recovered a large working methamphetamine lab.
According to Chief of Police Ken Womack, two suspects were arrested. Steven Scott Strickland, 45, and Tammy Strickland, 39, were taken into custody and transported to Mississippi County Sheriff's Department.
Womack said the two were charged with felony possession of drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, felony endangerment of the welfare of a minor one count, and possession of anhydrous ammonia in unlawful containers.
The two were arraigned Thursday morning in Mississippi County Circuit Court in Blytheville. Judge Goodson set the bond at $50,000 each.
Members of the Leachville Police Department and fire department secured the area until a team from the Drug Enforcement Administration could be dispatched from the Memphis area to take control of and remove the toxic material and anhydrous ammonia.
The team arrived at 10:45 p.m. and worked until around midnight.
Womack said the arrest is the result of an ongoing four month investigation.
"It is a joint effort of the Leachville Police Department and the 2nd Judicial Drug Task Force," Womack said. "We are grateful to the Leachville Fire Department for their assistance."
Womack said it was later discovered that both of the suspects have outstanding warrants. Mr. Strickland has warrants from Jacksonville for failure to complete jail time and Mrs. Strickland has warrants for possession of a counterfeit controlled substance with intent to deliver, DWI, failure to appear, and failure to appear on driving on a suspended driver's license in Pulaski County.
"This is a major problem in all of our towns," Womack said. "Our goal is to try to rid the entire area of this problem. More arrests are expected in the future."
Womack said the Leachville Police Department has joined with other officers across the state during the last couple of years in an effort to be educated on fighting the problem. Womack and Lt. Evans have attended several methamphetamine challenge seminars.
"We were successful last year in meeting with some of our legislators who passed the law getting drug items with ephedrine off the shelves," he said. "That was a step in the right direction."
Womack plans to attend a conference in June conducted by the Criminal Justice Institution called Arkansas Methamphetamine Challenge -- An Information Focus for Law Enforcement Executives.
"During these conferences we try to put our heads together on the legal and liability issues, as well as resources available and how other communities are dealing with the problem," Womack said.