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Roan Mountain pair charged after meth lab dumpsite discovered near house

Staff reports • Nov 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM

ELIZABETHTON — A man and woman were in Carter County Sessions Court on Monday on charges stemming from a Thanksgiving Eve discovery of a methamphetamine dumpsite in the vicinity of their residence.

James Matthew Jennings, 33, and Terri Lynn Cairnes, 42, both of 286 Heaton Creek Road, Roan Mountain, were each appointed a public defender and had their cases reset for Jan. 18.

Jennings is charged with initiation of the process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine and five counts of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture. He also had a previous charge of driving on a revoked license and two violations of probation. Cairnes is charged with three counts of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture.

The investigation began when a hunter, William Scott Jamison, told deputies he came across a suspected methamphetamine dump site on his father’s property. Jamison led Sgt. Harmon Duncan and other investigators from the Carter County Sheriff’s Department on all-terrain vehicles up the mountain to an area Duncan said was “an extremely remote forested area.”

At the site, Duncan said he found two empty packages of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine and a blue cooler containing numerous items commonly used in manufacturing methamphetamine, including “gasser bottles,” drain cleaner, plastic tubing and bottle caps with holes in them. In a trash pile beside the cooler, officers found several dozen coffee filters and paper towels containing white residue consistent with the process of making methamphetamine. Lt. Mike Little processed the items wearing protective clothing.

In the ice chest was a quart jar of a two-layered clear liquid consistent with the manufacture of meth, identified as “meth oil.” Duncan said the substance was the end result of the first stage of methamphetamine making. A sample was sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime laboratory. Duncan said other items were found at the site that implicated Jennings and Cairnes.

Deputy James Stevens said the Jamisons had rented the residence at 286 Heaton Creek to Jennings’ father, Ballard Eugene Jennings. The father had allowed James Jennings and Cairnes to reside in a storage building attached to the carport of the residence. Both Jennings and Cairnes said they had not been in the woods where the dumpsite was located and did not know it was there.

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