SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Five individuals have been charged in two separate Shelby County meth lab busts which occurred during a 24 hour time frame last week.
After responding to a chemical explosion at a Montevallo home Feb. 18, the Shelby County Sherriff's Office and fire department personnel continued to investigate the cause of the fire.
Officials entered the residence with protective equipment and identified chemicals inside the home as ones used to produce methamphetamine. Two of the people inside the home at the time of the explosion were taken to the hospital for injuries from the fire and another person fled the scene before deputies arrived.
"Using methamphetamine is dangerous. Making methamphetamine is even more dangerous. Put the two together and tragedy is close behind," said Lieutenant Chris George, commander of the drug task force.
As a result of that investigation, Tracey Edward Boothe, 41, of Montevallo, Jerime Wayne Dunnaway, 39 of Montevallo, and Tommy Rodger Carden, 45, of Alabaster were charged with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance of the first degree. Boothe and Dunnaway are currently being held in the Shelby County jail with bonds of $500,000 each.
On Feb. 19, the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force confirmed meth was being produced at a home in the Southern Pines neighborhood of north Shelby County after receiving a tip from an individual. Two people have been arrested in connection with the meth lab which was located in the 5000 block of Shelby Drive.
Crystal Rena Ginn, a 21-year-old from Gadsden, and Brandon Lynn Mullinax, a 25-year-old from Scottsboro, have both been charged with unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance. They are currently being held on unrelated charges in the Marshal County jail and are waiting to be extradited to Shelby County after their release.
These cases appear to be unrelated to each other, according to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. Both investigations are still open.
"Methamphetamine is such a powerful drug that people addicted to it will risk their life for it and addiction may begin as early as the first use. We educate, offer treatment and make arrests, but this addiction is strong," George said.
The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force consists of officers from the Alabaster, Pelham, Harpersville and Helena Police Departments, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office, and the Alabama National Guard Counter Drug Program.