Based on complaints by neighbors of a persistent chemical odor in the neighborhood, the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit was already investigating Jason Daniel Berry, 35, and Miranda Nicole McLean, 21, both of 276 Hickory Hill Road, located just north of Carters Valley Road.
On Tuesday afternoon, however, deputies went to the residence to serve outstanding arrest warrants on both. Berry had failed to report for a 30-day jail sentence in Hawkins County, and McLean was wanted in Unicoi County.
“While at the home, officers smelled a chemical odor that was recognized to be consistent with a meth lab,” said Sheriff Ronnie Lawson. “Narcotics officers removed Mr. Berry and Ms. McLean from the residence for safety purposes. During a consented search of the home, narcotics officers recovered an active ‘one pot’ meth lab. Narcotics officers also seized numerous other meth lab components from the home such as muriatic acid, Coleman fuel and other assorted small items of drug paraphernalia.”
Lawson said there was also approximately 2 grams of finished meth inside the residence.
Berry and McLean were arrested on charges including manufacturing meth, possession of meth with intent to deliver, maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are housed or sold, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The Carters Valley Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene to assist with decontamination of the couple before they were transported to the Hawkins County jail.
The Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force, as well as the Church Hill EMS, responded to the scene to assist narcotics officers in safety precautions.
“The one-pot meth lab was neutralized by trained narcotics officers and packaged for removal,” Lawson said. “All hazardous materials were further packaged and removed from the scene, and the residence was placed under quarantine.”
Lawson expressed his appreciation to the supporting agencies that helped ensure the public safety and the safety of his narcotics officers.
As of Wednesday, Berry and McLean remained lodged in the Hawkins County jail, each on $75,000 bond. Both are scheduled for arraignment Oct. 15.