By Frank Lewis
The Portsmouth Police Department has made two arrests in connection with a methamphetamine lab operation that was found in the city of Portsmouth Tuesday night.
At about 7:50 p.m. officers received a complaint of a meth lab being operated in a residence located at 2047 Fifth St. Officers arrived at the residence and when they knocked on the door, the resident, Terry Thomas, answered the door and officers advised him of the complaint.
Officers said they heard a loud noise on the side of the residence and said they observed James B. Damron coming out a window on the side of the house and running from the residence. Officer Cody Ervin apprehended Damron and on a Search Incident to Arrest, Ervin located a half gram of a substance in Damron’s pocket that field tested positive for methamphetamine.
Officers said they observed what was believed to be an active meth lab, through an open window on the residence and a public safety search was conducted on the residence due to the extremely volatile nature of meth labs. The items observed by officers through the window were in fact an active meth lab in the cooking process.
Officers of the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force responded to the scene and assisted in the cleanup of the lab. Due to the volatility of meth labs, the Portsmouth Fire Department and Portsmouth Ambulance both responded to the scene to assist officers in case of an emergency.
Portsmouth Police Department Operations Captain Lynn Brewer said methamphetamine in the cooking process is extremely dangerous and citizens should not hesitate to report suspected meth labs. He said the risk of fire or of the risk of officers being overcome by the toxic fumes generated by a lab is very high and Brewer said the police department is thankful to have the assistance of the fire department and EMS on standby at a lab cleanup.
Thomas, 48, and Damron, 24, were both charged with illegal assembly or possession of chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine, a felony of the third degree and possession of drugs schedule I or II, a felony of the fifth degree. The two charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Both men were taken to the Scioto County Jail for arraignment Wednesday morning in Portsmouth Municipal Court on their charges. The case will be presented to the Scioto County grand jury where additional charges could be filed.
In a separate incident, officers of the Portsmouth Police Department were called to a residence at 1515 Summit St. at about 9:10 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a trespassing complaint. Upon officers’ arrival they said they located Derrick T. Scalf, 23 of Portsmouth and that he matched the description of the suspect in the complaint. A warrant check was conducted on Scalf and a warrant for his arrest on a probation violation was located.
On Search Incident to Arrest Scalf was found to be in possession of a substance officers said field tested positive for heroin. Scalf was charged with the warrant as well as possession of drugs, a felony of the fifth degree. He was transported to the Scioto County Jail where he awaited arraignment in Portsmouth Municipal Court Wednesday morning on those charges.
Brewer said citizens are encouraged to contact the Portsmouth Police Department at 740-353-4101, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office at 740-354-7566 or the Drug Task Force Hot Line at 740-354-5656 with any information on illegal drug activity. Citizens can also email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.