Drug task force busts Cana meth lab

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Father, son charged with making methamphetamine

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

CANA — The Twin County Drug Task Force issued a search warrant at 53 Amazing Grace Lane in Cana last Thursday morning, as part of an investigation of methamphetamine manufacturing.
Authorities in clinical-looking white coveralls and breathing masks spread out meth-making items and ingredients on a tarp in front of the home, under the shade of a tree on the warm and sunny summer day.
Charged as a part of the investigation were father and son Roger Jessup Hiatt, 46, and Roger Ernest Hiatt, 25, who lived at the address.


The warrant comes as a part of an ongoing investigation into meth manufacturing. Police said on a search warrant that they found out about the operation through a witness who described seeing materials including pseudoephedrine cold pills, lithium batteries, Coleman fuel and other items commonly used in manufacturing meth at the home and outbuildings.
Authorities called for assistance from the Cana Rescue Squad to check out a male juvenile on the scene for possibly needing decontamination from exposure the meth-making chemicals. Team members also called for help from the department of social services, because a juvenile was involved.
Police conducting the search also called for a clean up crew for the home.
The Jessups were charged with manufacture of methamphetamine, conspiracy to manufacture meth and related charges, according to drug task force members.
A search warrant filed with the Carroll County courts said police wanted to look for anything related to making illegal drugs. That ranged from books, records and receipts; financial proceeds and items potentially purchased with it, like vehicles or jewelry; computers and cell phones, in which there could be electronic records; any chemicals or precursor chemicals; equipment to make the drugs, like glassware, beakers and metal stands.
Police also hoped to find other visual evidence, according to the search warrant. “Photographs, in particular photographs of co-conspirators, of assets and /or of controlled substance, in particular, methamphetamine.”
Authorities submitted a list of the seized items:
• Mason jars with clear liquid or a white powder inside
• a spoon with a red unknown substance on it
• a loaded needle
• an empty pill blister pack
• two boxes of Claritin D, 240 mg tablets and a receipt for its purchase from Kerr Drug Store
• a letter titled “crystal meth” found in the younger man’s room, according to court papers.
Both men have hearings set for Aug. 16 in Carroll County Circuit Court, according to court records.
The hearing is for a previous charge of grand larceny.
In a 2006 case, Roger Jessup Hiatt pleaded guilty to drug possession.

Hospital has decontamination plans in place

The need for decontamination from chemicals that make up methamphetamine is rare, but Twin County Regional Hospital officials say they are ready if its needed.
Procedures begin with the emergency medical services that respond to the scene, according to information from Deborah Greer, emergency department manager at the hospital in Galax.
TCRH has a dedicated room for decontamination, separated from other parts of the hospital and with its own air exchange to keep chemicals being transferred through the ventilation system to other parts of the building.
“There are portable showers not only for a patient or patients who may have been exposed to a substance, but also for any emergency personnel or hospital staff that may have been exposed,” Greer said. “Staff members use personal protective equipment to limit their exposure.”
Other life-saving treatment can then be given in the ER, if needed.