MONTICELLO – Shortly after being rescued from their burning mobile home early Saturday morning (April 2), six people were arrested by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine.
“This could have had a much worse outcome,” said Dan Smoot, law enforcement director of Operation UNITE. “Even though flames were coming from the home and the interior was quickly filling up with toxic smoke, these individuals refused to allow law enforcement officers to enter.”
“Deputies had to forcibly break through a barricaded door and pull the suspects outside,” Smoot added. “Another few minutes and the situation could have turned tragic.”
Although all six individuals experienced some smoke inhalation, none required hospitalization.
“Wayne County EMS checked them out at the scene,” Smoot said. “After being medically cleared they were then arrested and lodged in the Wayne County Detention Center.”
Those arrested were Monticello residents 25-year-old Brittany A. Lowhorn of Park Avenue, 54-year-old Billy L. Ray of Mobile manor, 36-year-old Heidi R. (Conner) Savage of 312 Fair Street, 36-year-old Shane Ray Savage of Short Street, 35-year-old Justin E. Smith of Stokes Street, and 24-year-old Kendell L. Thompson.
All six were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, second-degree arson and tampering with physical evidence. In addition, the charges will be enhanced because a Hi-Point 9mm handgun was found inside the residence.
Earlier in the morning Wayne County deputies received a complaint of a possible meth lab at Ray’s home on Mobile Manor, located east of Monticello off KY 90 near Mill Springs.
About 4 a.m. a sheriff’s deputy and Monticello police officer went to investigate.
Upon arriving they knocked on the door and spotted one of the suspects look out a window, but nobody answered. Because they had noticed a chemical smell, UNITE detectives were called for assistance.
The officers heard people moving around inside the trailer, then spotted smoke coming from one end and called for the Monticello Fire Department.
A few minutes later the “smoke vanished as quickly as it came” said one of the officers.
As they waited for the responding units, the officers then spotted flames coming from one end of the home. Repeated attempts were made to get those inside to come to the door.
The deputy then kicked his way through a fortified door, headed down the hallway past the flames, located five of the individuals in a rear bedroom and pulled them out to safety as smoke filled the home.
About this time the fire department had arrived. One of the firefighters heard another person moving around inside and went back in and pulled him to safety.
Once the fire was extinguished police obtained a search warrant with the assistance of Wayne County Attorney Tom Simmons.
Their search uncovered numerous items used in the making of methamphetamine, including chemicals that were neutralized by UNITE detectives.
Officials were on the scene until about noon.
UNITE detectives will present the cases to an upcoming Wayne County Grand Jury for possible indictment.
“This is yet another example of why UNITE is so committed to seeking legislation scheduling pseudoephedrine,” Smoot said. “We believe cases like this, and many others, would decline dramatically – like has been seen in Oregon and Mississippi – if it were more difficult to obtain the main ingredient in making methamphetamine.”
Said Smoot, “We were just very lucky today.”