Man, woman charged with drug manufacture, child abuse

Published 9:30 am Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Carter County man and woman arrested earlier this month after police say they found a meth lab and marijuana operation in their home are facing additional charges in connection with the same incident.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Amber June Ellen Blevins, 23, of 169 Mays Road, Elizabethton, Monday on a warrant charging her with attempted manufacture of Schedule I drugs and aggravated child abuse and neglect. Deputies arrested Ricky Shafer, 30, of the same address on a warrant charging him with attempted manufacture of Schedule I drugs and aggravated child abuse and neglect.

The two previously were arrested Feb. 3 by deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department attempting to serve a warrant on another individual at the home on Mays Road. Blevins told officers the woman they were looking for was not home, and asked if they could come back the next day. Blevins acted suspiciously, CCSD Lt. Penny Garland said, so officers entered the home to search for the wanted woman.

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As officers searched inside the home, Garland found several marijuana plants hidden in a closet and more marijuana plants in a bathroom. Deputy Mark McClain searched around the back porch, where he said he found not only a marijuana plant but also items used to manufacture methamphetamine.

The officers then detained Blevins as well as Shaffer, who was in the home, and contacted CCSD Investigator Myles Cook with the drug investigation unit. Cook responded to the home, where he said he also saw the marijuana plants and meth lab components.

The officers then took Blevins and Shafer to the Carter County Detention Center and turned a 3-year-old child who was in the home over the custody of a relative.

Cook obtained a search warrant and returned to the home to do a complete search.

A full search of the home turned up 10 potted marijuana plants, a notebook containing what appears to be marijuana and illicit mushroom cultivation and growing techniques as well as methamphetamine cooking instructions, four one-pot meth cooking vessels, 12 glass jars containing what appeared to be attempts to grow illicit mushrooms, nine meth acid gas generators, one meth “gasser” hose with bottle cap and other narcotics related material, Cook said.

At the time of their initial arrest, Blevins and Shafer were each charged with promotion of methamphetamine manufacture, initiation of process to manufacture methamphetamine, manufacture of Schedule VI drugs, felony possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of Schedule VI drugs and maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are manufactured.

During his follow up investigation, Cook said he spoke with a Department of Children’s Services investigator regarding the 3-year-old child who had been present in the home on the night the drugs were found.  The investigator told cook the child would be tested for exposure to methamphetamine.

The additional charges against Blevins and Shaffer were placed after the additional information was received and a conference with the District Attorney’s Office, Cook said.