The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 26, 2014

Ardmore Police: 3 children found at active meth lab

Bond set at $136K for 3 arrested, 4th remains in medical custody after ‘leaping’ from 2nd-floor window’

By Kim West

— Contrary to social media postings, Ardmore Police Chief David Whitt said no explosions occurred Thursday night in the Alabama-Tennessee area of Ardmore.

But his department had its hands full after an apartment drug bust on Smith Street yielded four adults who were found with a live meth lab so potent they had to be decontaminated and the Giles County hazardous materials team was brought in, Whitt said.

“Our officers described it as a fog in there — it was an active meth lab and they said they could smell the chemicals,” Whitt said. “They were cooking in a bathroom and had stuffed some of the drugs inside a wall that contaminated the wall next to it.

“We did have to quarantine three apartments — the one where they were making the meth, the one next door and the one immediately downstairs.”

Authorities took custody of three children who were staying at the second-floor end unit of Highland Rim Apartments Phase II, which is in the city of Ardmore, Tenn. Whitt said the youths — ages 4, 5 and 8 — were turned over to Child Protective Services and tested for contamination.

One of the adults, Dwayne David Benjamin of Huntsville, 34, attempted to elude police by leaping out a window and sustained a broken leg, Whitt said.

“(Benjamin) took off running and jumped out the second-story window,” Whitt said. “We went ahead and arrested the three others but (Benjamin) had to be transported to Huntsville Hospital because of his injuries. I expect his arrest to follow, and Madison County also has warrants for him.”

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Friday evening an outstanding warrant for theft of property for Benjamin. He was listed in good condition Saturday afternoon, said hospital spokeswoman Pam Sparks.

The other three adults were booked into the Giles County Jail in Pulaski, Tenn., early Friday morning after officers went to the apartment shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday.

James David Waldrop, 42, and Patricia Dean Waldrop, 61, both of Ardmore, Tenn., and Amber Leigh Ann Jones, 25, of Hazel Green are each charged with unlawful drug paraphernalia, possession of methamphetamine for resale and initiation of meth manufacture.

All three also face three counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect. Bond was set at $136,500 apiece, according to Giles County authorities.

According to the jail website, all three remained in custody as of Saturday afternoon. Their court date has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, May 16.