Drug agents battle meth comeback
Three recently charged; several locations
By MITCHELL KLINE
Staff Writer Tennessean August 1, 2008
Task Force agent Scott Jones lay still, hoping a man
suspected of making methamphetamine wouldn't shine a
handheld spotlight in his direction.
Jones and other task force agents had surrounded the home at
5854 Davis Hollow Road and were waiting for the right moment
to reveal their presence. Tension built as team members, who
had been hiding in the trees, crawled to the edge of the
driveway and smelled a chemical odor that confirmed their
suspicions that someone in the house had just finished
cooking a batch of meth.
"As we were creeping up towards the house, making our
approach, the dogs were barking and carrying on," Jones
said. "He came out with a shotgun and a spotlight and we hit
the ground. He was shining the light and hollering, 'Get 'em
boys. Get 'em.' "
When the wanted man, Gregory A. Shaver, 39, went back
inside, Jones and the team of law enforcement officers
followed, displaying heavy firepower. They found lithium
batteries, muriatic acid, camp fuel, drain opener and cold
medicine ? telltale ingredients that combine to make meth.
Drug is making 'comeback'
Methamphetamine, a highly addictive drug that affects the
central nervous system, is making a comeback in the area,
according to Jones.
Jones said meth, a white, odorless, bitter-tasting
crystalline powder that is taken orally, snorted, injected
or smoked, is a "rural drug." He referred to it as "poor
Shaver's bust occurred on April 2. Details about his arrest
and those of two others accused of making meth in Williamson
County were released in July after a grand jury issued
indictments against them.
Jones said he's investigating six other locations where he
believes meth is being manufactured, having gathered
information about possible meth makers from informants,
suspicious pharmacists and concerned citizens.
"We'll do everything in our power to keep meth out of this
county and the 21st Judicial District," said Joey Kimble,
director of the 21st Judicial District Drug Task Force,
which covers Williamson, Lewis, Perry and Hickman counties.
Other charges levied
Shaver and Cynthia Murrell, 34, are charged with
manufacturing meth in the home Murrell was renting in the
Boston community. Both also were charged with two counts of
child endangerment ? Jones said there were two children,
ages 8 and 10, living with the couple.
Jones said he found evidence that Shaver and Murrell made
meth at least three times by combining chemicals in plastic
Shaver, who was on parole from prison, was transferred from
the Williamson County jail to a state penitentiary on April
15. Murrell was released from jail on May 17 after posting
Barry Dale Watkins, 30, also was indicted for manufacturing
meth and child endangerment. Jones said several pharmacists
reported that Watkins was purchasing an unusual amount of
cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine, the main
ingredient in meth.
Watkins, whom Jones believes made meth at least nine times,
was renting a home at the Motoroll Trailer Park on Carters
Creek Pike and living with a 2-year-old boy. He is being
held at the Williamson County jail with bail set at
Jones said Murrell, Shaver and Watkins are suspected of
selling some of the meth they made.
"Through the investigations of Shaver and Watkins we've been
led to other individuals we are currently investigating,"
Jones said. "We're getting information on some others and
are keeping a close watch."
Murrell and Shaver are scheduled to appear before a judge on
Oct. 7. Watkins has a hearing date on Sept. 30.
Homes are quarantined
While their cases move through the court system, the owners
of the homes they left behind are dealing with costly
The production of meth involves combining household
chemicals used to "cook" or extract ephedrine from cold or
allergy medicine. The toxic byproducts and gases produced
from this process can adhere to walls, clothing, furniture
and other items.
Following state and federal laws, Jones filed notices that
the homes had been quarantined with the county's Register of
Deeds. The notice states that the homes shall remain under
quarantine until the property is certified as safe for human
That's left the home Murrell was renting on Davis Hollow
Road "worthless," according to Michael Holt, who spoke for
his aunt, Precillar Holt, who owns the property.
"It's just crushed our family," Michael Holt said. "We've
got a piece of property that we can't ever sell."
Holt said his family agreed to let Murrell stay in the home,
paid her electric bill and even watched her children.
"It's a bad, bad situation," Michael Holt said. "I don't
know what good can come out of this."
Holt said he is unsure what his family will do with the
Watkins was renting a home on lot nine at the Motoroll
Trailer Park for $150 a week, according to William Sweeney,
who manages the park and is engaged to the park's owner,
"We can't rent the property or even go in until we have a
certified person come out and get it tested," Sweeney said.
The home is being torn down and will be replaced by a
double-wide trailer. Sweeney said Waller would lose about
$9,500 because of the quarantine. That includes the $5,500
Waller put into the home before Watkins moved in and the
$4,000 the couple is paying to have the home demolished.
"I have no hard feelings towards him about it," Sweeney
said. "I'm sure he must be an addict himself. I hate that it
costs us that, but I'm not angry at (Watkins). I understand
Contact Mitchell Kline at 615-771-5417 or