By KEVIN BOWDEN
An investigation into a suspected meth lab off Highway 45 West, just north of Kenton, has resulted in six people being arrested by local law enforcement officials.
A 4-year-old child has been taken into state custody in connection to the case, according to Chief Deputy Kent Treece with the Obion County Sheriff’s Department.
Officer Mike Simmons with the 27th Judicial Drug Task Force is leading the criminal investigation, which actually began when the Obion County Sheriff’s Department was asked to accompany representatives of the local Child Protective Services agency to a residence at 3711 Highway 45 West. That agency was doing a welfare check on the 4-year-old child at the residence, according to Treece.
While at the residence late Friday morning, interviews were conducted with the six adults there and an alleged active meth lab was discovered inside the home.
During the interviews, Brynn Richardson, 29, of Kenton fled the scene on foot. She was captured a short time later in Kenton, according to Simmons. He said the woman escaped the residence through a window.
Arrested at the scene were Austin Clay Carlton, 18, Cody Dwayne Carlton, 20, Joshua David Green, 25, James Kendall Mealer, 52, and Susan Diane Mealer, 44, all of Kenton.
All six adults have been charged with two counts of manufacture of a Schedule II substance (methamphetamine), promotion of the manufacture of a Schedule II substance (methamphetamine) and aggravated child endangerment. All the charges are felonies.
The aggravated child endangerment charge is a Class A felony, the same as a first-degree murder charge, according to Simmons.
All six suspects were arraigned Monday afternoon before Obion County General Sessions Judge Jimmy Smith.
They were each given a $100,000 bond and were still being held at the Obion County Law Enforcement Complex today. Their court dates were set for Thursday in general sessions court.
The 4-year-old child was taken Friday by Child Protective Services to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City for evaluation and treatment.
The Highway 45 West residence has been processed and quarantined by the local drug task force. The Tennessee Meth Task Force truck was brought in to assist with the clean up of the residence, according to Treece.
He said law enforcement officials on the scene discovered various components used in the manufacture of meth scattered throughout the residence.
Also under investigation by local law enforcement officials is a separate incident involving an alleged meth lab. Firefighters in Obion were dispatched to a house fire at 713 West Palestine Ave. at 11 p.m. Sunday.
Firefighters were on the scene until after 1 a.m. Monday and one firefighter, Billy Lucas, 35, was overcome by exhaustion, according to Evans. It was determined entry to the residence was gained forcibly and the cause of the fire was “intentional.”
“Upon arrival flames were showing with 25 percent involvement of structure,” Obion Fire Chief Jamie Evans wrote in his report. “Fire had spread from the rear utility room of the house to the attic and upstairs portions of the home and the roof over the back quarter of the home was completely burned off.”
The West Palestine Avenue residence was quarantined last week after law enforcement officials busted an alleged meth lab at the home.
Witnesses at the scene Sunday night reported seeing “a male throwing something into the home and hearing a bang, then witnessing the home burst into flames,” according to Evans’ report.
The incident is currently under investigation by the Obion Police Department and the Obion County Sheriff’s Department.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.2.11