Community members contributed information that led to the search of four Lowell homes suspected of drug activity and several subsequent arrests Wednesday night.
The arrests were the culmination of several months of investigation and required the help of multiple agencies with people certified to enter meth labs, said Washington County Sheriff's Office Major Brian Schuck, who works with the Major Crimes Task Force.
"We'd been getting complaints on these individuals, that they were up to illegal activity. Our investigation revealed they were involved in making meth," said Schuck.
The four search warrants, which were executed starting at 7:15 p.m., resulted in the arrests of seven Lowell residents, all thought to be friends involved in producing the drug, he said.
Aaron S. Glasser, 30, and Natalie L. Slider, 27, of 100 Water St., were arrested after a search warrant at their home revealed Glasser had stockpiled many items used to make methamphetamine. Slider admitted that Glasser had used the "one pot" method to make meth on numerous occasions while the couple's 3-year-old son was present, according to an affidavit of facts on the arrest.
Glasser was charged with a first-degree felony count of illegal manufacture of drugs, a second-degree felony count of illegal assembly of chemicals used to make drugs and a third-degree felony count of child endangering.
504 Sixth St., Lowell.
424 Fifth St., Lowell.
100 Water St., Lowell.
565 Fleming Road, Lowell.
Slider was also charged with a third-degree felony count of child endangering.
The child was removed from the home by Washington County Children Services, said Schuck.
Also searched was 504 Sixth St., the home of 45-year-old Brett E. Shank and 50-year-old Malissia A. Richards.
More meth manufacturing ingredients were found in Shank's home, and both he and Richards were charged with illegal assembly of drugs, a second-degree felony.
The adjacent home of Matthew A. McLeish, 32, of 424 Fifth St., was searched. McLeish and his wife, who is not charged out of the incident, admitted to recently using illegal drugs.
The search of the home yielded a crack stem and a glass mirror with white residue and a razor blade on it, which McLeish admitted was his, according to police.
McLeish said he used the glass mirror to crush and snort Vicodin pills. Based on a field test, cocaine was present on the crack stem.
Two children were also removed from the McLeish residence, said Schuck.
McLeish was charged with a third-degree felony count of tampering with drugs and a fifth-degree felony count of possession of crack cocaine.
The final search warrant was executed at 565 Fleming Road, the home of Daniel W. Blair Jr.
Blair, 57, was found with unprescribed prescription pills and marijuana. He also had a loaded 20 gauge single shot shotgun at the home, which he was forbidden from having due to a conviction for involuntary manslaughter in 1984.
Blair was therefore charged with a third-degree felony count of having weapons under a disability.
Also in Blair's home was 32-year-old David L. Slagle Jr., of 4869 Rainbow Road, who was found with unprescribed hydrocodone and Percocet pills- one of which had been halved.
Slagle was charged with a third-degree felony count of tampering with drugs and a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs.
All of the houses were close together and fairly close to Lowell Elementary School, noted Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.
"The Shanks and McLeishes are back to back. There backyards run together," he said.
For that reasons, search warrants at that home were executed simultaneously and warrants at the other two houses were executed shortly thereafter, said Schuck.
When arrests were made at the Fifth and Sixth Street homes, one grateful neighbor reportedly came outside and applauded, said Schuck.
Officers believe some of the arrested individuals had been making meth for approximately a year prior to the arrests, he added.
Searching so many sites suspected of meth manufacturing required a large number of personnel certified to go into meth labs and respond to potential associated problems, such as chemical leaks and fires.
Officers were present from the Washington, Meigs, and Athens County sheriffs' offices; the Marietta, Athens, and Middleport police offices; and the Marietta and Lowell-Adams fire departments, said Schuck.
All seven individuals remained incarcerated in the Washington County Jail in lieu of bond Thursday evening. Additional charges are possible in the case.