At 3:23 a.m. Saturday, two Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office road deputies arrived at 191 Melinda Ferry Road to serve an active arrest warrant for a probation violation.
The subject of the arrest warrant wasn’t present.
While attempting to make contact with the people inside, however, the deputy who covered the rear of the residence allegedly observed an “improvised gas generator” producing anhydrous ammonia near an open window with a fan blowing the fumes out the window.
Lt. Chad Gillenwater, who heads the HCSO Narcotics Unit, said the deputy then observed Michael James Boatwright, 36, 140 Burton Road, Rogersville, grab a jar and rush toward a toilet.
“They actually witnessed him flush the contents of the jar down the toilet, which at that point created exigent circumstances to enter the home due to chemical and biohazards to the occupants of the residence,” Gillenwater said. “The deputies entered the residence and did see an active and working meth lab in a jar, as well as other components and ingredients associated with meth manufacturing.”
Seven people including Boatwright were removed from the residence.
The deputies on the scene weren’t certified to deal with meth labs, so they contacted the Narcotics Unit, which responded to the scene and removed the lab to a safe distance from residences.
Certified officers from the Tennessee Meth Task Force responded to the scene to conduct cleanup.
Hawkins County HazMat, the Lakeview Volunteer Fire Department and Hawkins County EMS responded to the residence to decontaminate the seven people taken into custody.
Boatwright was charged with manufacturing meth and tampering with evidence. He was lodged in the Hawkins County Jail on $50,000 bond.
Gillenwater stated that he is in favor of the significantly higher bonds being placed on felony suspects by new Sessions Judge Jay Taylor.
“High bond makes it harder for them to get right out and continue their criminal activities,” Gillenwater said.
The other six arrested were:
•LeAnn Renee Self, 24, 628 Shepherd’s Chapel Road, Rogersville, who was charged with manufacturing meth and possession of meth. She was held on $35,000 bond.
•Phillip Paul McKinney, 26, 438 McMinn St., Rogersville, who was charged with manufacturing meth. McKinney was ordered held without bond due to being on probation.
•Jason Scott Morelock, 25, 413 Church St., Rogersville, who was charged with manufacturing meth and was ordered held without bond due to being on probation.
•Heather Nicole Leonard, 24, 130 Henard Lane, Rogersville who was charged with manufacturing meth and was ordered held without bond due to being on probation.
•Cory Leigh Quillen, 19, 425 Blue Haven Drive, Kingsport, who was charged with manufacturing meth and was ordered held on $35,000 bond.
•Jason Caudill, 29, 156 Flatwood Lane, Rogersville, who was charged with manufacturing meth and was ordered held without bond due to being on probation.