ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Sheriff’s Department made two arrests Friday following an investigation of a methamphetamine manufacturing operation that began last summer with evidence collected at two dump sites.
As a result of the investigation, Scotty Lee Lewis, 52, and Janet Cornett Tupay, 59, both of 1009 Frosty Lane, were each arrested on charges of initiating the process to manufacture methamphetamine, initiation of the process to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Investigators said they began with a meth lab dump site found Aug. 13 at the Garrison Trailhead on Rainbow Circle. A similar dump site was found the next day. During the cleanup, investigators found documents that showed a man had purchased cough medicine containing pseudoephedrine on Aug. 13 at a Walgreen’s pharmacy in Johnson City.
The purchaser was intercepted by law enforcement officers after the cleanup and was found to be in possession of two grams of methamphetamine. Investigators said the man cooperated with them and admitted to buying the psuedoephedrine at local drug stores and delivering the purchases to a residence at Frosty Lane.
The man told investigators he was present when Lewis and Tupay began mixing the psuedoephedrine with the other ingredients to make methamphetamine. For the final stages, he said they went to the Garrison Trailhead, where the “cook” was completed and the trash was discarded. The man said he was given two grams of methamphetamine to take home with him.
Sgt. Harmon Duncan said the informer’s story was corroborated by checking the times he said the cold medicine was purchased with the store records of the stores where he said the purchases had been made.
On Sept. 13, Duncan and Investigator Travis Ludlow went to 1009 Frosty Lane, where they were they said Lewis and Tupay consented to a search of the property.
The investigators found many ingredients used in making methamphetamine. These included three containers of Coleman fuel in an outbuilding. An open package of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine was found in a kitchen drawer. A 2-foot section of clear plastic tubing was found in the kitchen trash, along with an empty container of Morton salt and several used coffee filters.
Above the refrigerator, the investigators found an open bag containing ammonium nitrate pellets, which Duncan said was a critical component for the manufacture of methamphetamine. In a cabinet, the investigators found Crystal drain cleaner and two lithium batteries.
Spoons, a glass pipe and cut straws, all containing white residue, were found in a potato bin. A syringe was found in the bedroom. Duncan said Lewis was found in possession of a pill container with two small bags with a white powder.
As a followup, the investigators also located an Elizabethton Police Department report in which Tupay had been charged with shoplifting Sept. 10.
Lewis and Tupay are scheduled to answer the charges in Sessions Court on Nov. 27.