PAINTSVILLE - In the early morning hours of Aug. 15, "Operation T.N.T." (Tactical Narcotic Takedown) in Johnson County was still at work. A methamphetamine laboratory was discovered and dismantled by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office in the Sitka area.
Officers were responding to a disturbance complaint called in to 911. Sgt. Charles Hitchcock observed the people inside the home attempting to dismantle and hide the "meth lab" from the officers.
"The responding officers observed the residence for several minutes before approaching," said Sgt. Tom Wyatt. "The occupants inside knew the officers were out there and were trying to hide the lab before they came in."
After obtaining verbal consent from the homeowners, the residence was searched and the officers discovered all the ingredients needed to make methamphetamine, along with a large quantity of the drug, assorted drug paraphernalia and marijuana.
"When the officers started searching, they also found instructions on how to make methamphetamine on the computer screen in the bedroom, along with pages they had printed out," Sgt. Wyatt explained.
Five people were arrested and charged with complicity to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and use or possession of marijuana. Those arrested were Freddie Murphy, Robert Murphy, Heather Stambaugh and the property owners, Rachiad and Stacey El Harrab.
"Sgt. Charles Hitchcock and Deputy Axel Simonetti did an excellent job of recognizing what they were looking at," Wyatt said.
Sheriff Bill Witten was also assisted at the scene by Wyatt, Deputies Mike Jenkins and Ken Lyons and members of the Kentucky State Police.
This is the second drug bust in Johnson County in less than a week. Thirty-seven indictments were handed down last week and the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, along with UNITE, arrested seven individuals. Sgt. Wyatt explained, "Several others have already turned themselves in."
Witten encourages the people of Johnson County to continue to call in suspected drug dealers. He said that Operation T.N.T. will continue.