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Sheriff: More arrests expected in Washington Co. meth lab discovery

Staff Report • May 1, 2014 at 2:27 PM

A traffic stop led sheriff's deputies to a meth lab in the Clarks Creek area of southern Washington County on Wednesday, resulting in one arrest with more expected.

Deputies stopped Michael J. Ratliff, 34, 111 Springfield Lane, Jonesborough, for having no license plate on his vehicle and learned his license had been suspended, Sheriff Ed Graybeal reported in a news release.

After arresting him, deputies found two baggies of methamphetamine in his wallet, as well as a glass pipe and straw used for drugs in his pocket. In his vehicle, they found items used to make meth.

Deputies went to Ratliff's home and searched it with permission, finding a four one-pot bottles used to make meth, mixing containers, "gassers," ammonium nitrate, coffee filters and other meth precursors, as well as another baggie of finished meth, the sheriff said.

A woman at the residence, along with a dog and a cat inside the home, had to be decontaminated.

Deputies seized three vehicles and a small amount of cash. The sheriff estimated the street value of the meth at $150. Investigators expected to charge three more people.

Graybeal said Ratliff confessed to making meth. He was charged with failure to display registration plate, driving on a suspended license, possession of schedule II drugs for resale, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $12,000 and arraigned Thursday morning in Sessions Court.

The sheriff said once the meth lab investigation is completed, the case would be presented to a Washington County grand jury for prosecution.

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