Drug and child abuse charges filed in meth lab incident

By | December 24, 2012 12:00 am

Sgt. Daniel Trivette of the White County Sheriff Department went to the home of Mark Rhea, 39, of Sparta to serve a violation of probation warrant, however, when officers arrived, they noticed a distinct smell that they recognized as methamphetamine and further drug charges have now been made.
According to Sgt. Trivette’s report, at approximately 9:13 p.m. on Dec. 14, he went to the Darkey Springs Road home, along with Deputies Nick Dunn and Andy Julian, to serve a violation of probation warrant that stems from previous charges of theft over $500 and promotion to manufacture methamphetamine.
Before going to the home, Deputy Dunn spoke with Rhea’s probation officer to obtain permission to conduct a probation search of the home which the officer reportedly gave.
Sgt. Trivette states, “As I entered the residence, I immediately detected a very strong chemical odor inside so strong that it gave all officers present headaches and sore throats.”
Officers discovered two children in the home, a 16-year old and a four-year-old, and asked Rhea to call someone to pick them up so that they would not witness Rhea’s arrest on the violation of probation warrant.
Sgt. Trivette and Deputy Dunn searched the residence, they reportedly located cold medicine pills, rubber tubing, an opened box of eight-count cold packs and camping fuel in the bathroom.
Sgt. Trivette says they also located a trash can on the back porch with a very strong chemical smell in which they reportedly located an opened cold pack with the contents missing and a Styrofoam container with a stripped lithium battery casing, remnants of a lithium battery and several coffee filters, which he says are all items consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine.
In a bedroom, Sgt. Trivette says he located a .12 gauge shotgun shell. Deputy Dunn reportedly located two additional shells and a box of .410 shotgun shells with 12 shells remaining. According to Sgt. Trivette, Rhea is a felon who has been convicted of a dangerous felony and is not permitted to own a firearm, therefore the ammunition, as well as the items in the trash can were seized as evidence.
Sgt. Trivette says that he repeatedly questioned Rhea for the location of the “shake bottle” used for manufacturing the methamphetamine, but, according to Sgt. Trivette, Rhea insisted the bottle was not at the residence.
Deputy Andy Julian transported Rhea to the White County Justice Center where he was served with the violation of probation warrant. Sgt. Trivette says he then placed further charges on Rhea for initiation to manufacture methamphetamine and two counts of aggravated child neglect/abuse because of the two children being present in the home where meth was manufactured.
According to Sgt. Trivette, because one of the children was under eight-years-old, one of the child neglect/abuse charges is a Class-A felony. The other child abuse/neglect charge is a Class-B felony.
Deputy Dunn reportedly spoke with the Department of Children’s Services and provided them with the information necessary to begin an investigation into the safety of the children.

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