Darrell Lee Tate and Amanda Berry Rodriguez
CHURCH HILL — A woman allegedly dumped a nearly complete meth lab in the parking lot at Derrick Park in Church Hill Sunday afternoon during an argument with her boyfriend.
The couple then apparently went their separate ways, but as of Monday afternoon both were in custody facing meth manufacturing charges.
Church Hill police initially met with the woman, Amanda Berry Rodriguez, shortly after 12:30 p.m. Sunday when CHPD Officer Chip Whitaker responded to a report of a female causing a disturbance at Derrick Park off of Ordinance Drive.
Upon his arrival he made contact with Rodriguez, 29, 2863 Carters Valley Road, No. 2, Church Hill, and advised her to leave the park immediately.
After Rodriguez had left the park in a green Honda, Whitaker observed a suspicious white backpack lying on the ground a few feet from where Rodriguez had been parked.
Inside the backpack Whitaker found a one-pot meth lab that was almost ready to begin cooking and was only missing lithium battery strips and psuedoephedrine.
Also found in the backpack were several ingredients and components associated with meth manufacturing including Draino, salt, ammonia nitrate, sulfuric acid, tubing, a funnel, and a plastic bottle filled with camp fuel.
Around 1:30 p.m. CHPD detective Kevin Grigsby responded to an incident at the Kenjo Market on Silver Lake Road and Highway 11-W where Rodriguez was allegedly causing a disturbance again.
“Upon my speaking with her, it became obvious that she was under the influence of narcotics, as she was unsteady on her feet and acting very hyper,” Grigsby said. “She stated that her boyfriend had left drug paraphernalia in her vehicle, and that she and her boyfriend had spent the night in her vehicle at Derrick Park, and that the meth items belonged to him.”
Upon searching Rodriguez’s vehicle Grigsby allegedly found two spoons with a melted powder residue in the console of the dash.
Grigsby added, “She did state that she had thrown the bag and its contents out of her vehicle and into the park because she was upset at her boyfriend. She stated she had knowledge about what the bag contained.”
Rodriguez was then arrested for initiating the process to manufacture meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Around 1:30 p.m. Monday Grigsby observed a white male standing near the entrance to Derrick Park who was identified as Darrell Lee Tate, 36, 1605 Smith St., New Tazewell.
Tate reportedly stated that he was waiting in the area for his girlfriend, Rodriguez, to pick him up.
“He stated that they were vacationing in Church Hill and that the day before they had gotten into an argument in Derrick Park and gotten separated,” Grigsby said. “I advised (Tate) I had arrested Ms. Rodriguez and that I had located the Meth lab and components. (Tate) then became upset, began cursing and stated that he ‘was only attempting to learn the process’.”
A syringe was found in Tate’s pocket, as well as a gallon plastic bag containing a white powder residue which Tate identified as “nitrate.”
Tate then allegedly gave a statement that the meth items belong to someone else who he would not name, and that he had taken it from a home in Tazewell and brought it to Church Hill.
Grigsby said Tate also “gave a statement that implicated himself in the meth lab and its components that were located the day prior.”
Tate was also charged with initiating the process to manufacture meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Rodriguez was arraigned Monday in Hawkins County Sessions Court and as of Tuesday remained held in the Hawkins County Jail on $35,000 bond. Her next court appearance is Sept. 4.
Tate remains held on $75,000 bond and is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday morning.