Sheriff: Meth Remains Big Problem
By David Howell
TILLATOBA – A Tillatoba man was arrested Monday by deputies with Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department and officers of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN), after authorities received a tip of possible methamphetamine activity at his house.
Freddie Wayne McClanahan, age 41, was arrested without incident after authorities obtained a search warrant for his residence on Hwy. 51. McClanahan was charged with possession of a controlled substance, to-wit methamphetamine, and three counts of child abuse.
“We received a tip that there was possible metha-mephedamine at his house,” Humphreys told the Herald. Using the tip and survelliance in recent weeks, Humphreys said his department was able to get a search warrant for the residence.
“We discovered alleged methamphetamine during the execution of the search warrant,” Humphreys added. The substance, which showed positive for meth when field tested, will be sent to the state crime lab for verification.
The child abuse charges were triggered because three small children were living in the house at the time of the arrest, according to the sheriff.
“The law allows us to charge a suspect with the crime if children in the house are allowed to be in the vicinity of the drug,” Humphreys said.
The kids, ages 7, 10 and 11, were initially picked up by officials with the Department of Human Services, before being turned over to their biological mother.
“We have scheduled the children for blood tests and further evaluation,” Hump-hreys explained. “In many cases, just being in the same room, or even the same house, actually allows the drugs to get into a child’s system.”
McClanahan was booked in the Yalobusha County Jail Monday afternoon. Justice Court Judge Gary Tippit scheduled an initial appearance on Tuesday and set bond at $10,000. McClanahan posted bond later that day.
A Big Problem
“Meth is as big a problem in our state right now as it has ever been,” Humphreys continued. “There were more than 10 meth-related arrests made in Grenada County during the last week and Panola County authorities busted two meth labs earlier this week,” Humphreys said.
Tougher laws have made it easier for law enforcement to track potential meth cookers after a state law passed several years ago requires stores to keep a list of everybody who purchases the cold medicine commonly used to make the drug.
However a Supreme Court ruling has also placed a greater burden on law enforcement to obtain a warrant when a lab is suspected, according to Humphreys.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that the smell alone is no longer grounds for a search warrant,” Humphreys told the Herald earlier in July after an intense investigation culminated with several meth arrests.
In Monday’s arrest, authorities were able to obtain a search warrant using information from a tipster and citing a two-week survelliance period.
The child abuse charges filed against McClanahan also stem from tougher laws passed by state legislators in recent years, according to Humphreys.
The chemicals used to cook the stuff are extremely volatile, the cooking process itself poses a danger, not only to the cookers, but also to other people around,” Humphreys said, pointing to the 2003 Billy Bonner case in which a toddler received fatal burns after a meth lab exploded in Yalobusha County.
Meth labs often produce strong odors that smell like ether, ammonia, acetone, or cat urine. Humphreys urged anyone who notices, or specifically smells the suspicious odor, to contact Crime Stoppers or their local law enforcement office.
Potential tipsters will remain anonymous and could receive up to a $1,000 for their information.
Crime Stopper’s TIPS information may be submitted by calling (662) 473-4935 or 1-(866) 933-TIPS (8477); or by email to TIPS@YalobushaCounty.net.
In other law enforcement news:
• Deputies investigated a report of aggravated assault on Nov. 7. The call came from a homeowner on Hwy. 51, near the Enid community.
“The homeowner shot his daughter’s friend in a domestic case,” Humphreys reported. The victim, who has also been identified as the perpetrator in this case, was shot one time with a 22 rifle. The victim was transported to Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville in a private vehicle following the shooting.
“He was allegedly attacking the 70 year old homeowner and his daughter with a fire poker,” Humphreys said.
“We are not anticipating any charges in this incident because the homeowner was defending himself. The case will be presented to the grand jury, a formality in any shooting incident.
• Deputies are investigating the theft of a four-wheeler, taken from the Wildcat area on County Road 494.
“This was a green Honda 300 fourtrax,” Humphreys said. “Anybody that has any information about this crime is urged to contact the sheriff’s department or Crime Stoppers. The bike was reported missing on Nov. 8.
• Deputies took a report of a theft on County Road 113 on Nov. 8. Medicine was reported missing.
• Deputies took a report of burglary of an automobile on Nov. 8 on County Road 126. A small amount of cash was reported missing.
• Deputies took a report of vandalism on Nov. 7 on CR 224.
“Somebody had rolled the caller’s yard with toilet paper,” Humphreys said.
• Deputies took a report of simple assault on Nov. 4 on County Road 107. Charges were filed in the incident.
• Deputies investigated an apparent suicide on Hwy. 51 in the Enid community. The victim appears to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning.