Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 2, 2013

Meth arrests continue to surge

Mobile lab bust in Ashland Town Center parking lot

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — If there were any doubts methamphetamine has supplanted prescription narcotics as northeastern Kentucky’s No. 1 drug plague, the events of the past week most certainly dispelled them.

Authorities in Boyd and Greenup counties made a total of 11 meth-related arrests, with the most recent ones occurring in one of the most high-profile locations possible — a shopping center parking lot.

Boyd County sheriff’s deputies on Thursday arrested three in a mobile methamphetamine lab bust at Ashland Town Center.

Brandon L. Gibbs, 37, and Ashley J. Kirk, 29, both of Catlettsburg, and Barbara K. Moyer, 38, of Ashland, all were lodged in the Boyd County Detention Center, charged with manufacturing meth. Gibbs also was charged with first-degree drug trafficking.

According to the sheriff’s department, an informant working for the Boyd County Drug Task Force made a controlled purchase of meth from Gibbs in the mall’s rear parking lot, behind TJ Maxx, shortly after 8 p.m. Undercover officers observed the transaction. Once it was completed, deputies stopped Gibbs’ vehicle.

A search of the vehicle turned up eight one-step meth processors, along with finished product, precursors, syringes and cash, the sheriff’s department said.

The Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Special Investigations Unit was called to the scene to conduct a cleanup.

On Thursday, Greenup County Sheriff’s Deputies Cody Fuller and Rick Craft arrested three on meth-related charges.

Mark Porter, 46, of Wurtland, was charged with manufacturing meth, first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Adam Clifton, 25, of Franklin Furnace, was charged with manufacturing meth and second-degree promoting contraband. Christopher Jenkins 22, of Greenup, was charged with conspiracy to second-degree drug trafficking. All three suspects were lodged in the Greenup County Detention Center, where they remained Friday.

According to the sheriff’s department, deputies received a tip Porter was making meth at residence. Fuller and Craft responded and found an active meth lab there. Porter and Jenkins were at the residence when the deputies arrived and Jenkins showed up to purchase meth while they were there, the sheriff’s department said.

The wanton endangerment charge stemmed from the fact Porter’s residence was below an apartment with children living in it, according to the sheriff’s department.

On Tuesday, Ashland police arrested five after a traffic stop revealed the presence of a mobile methamphetamine lab.

According Maj. Mark McDowell, the stop occurred about 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Skidmore and Belmont streets. After making the stop, an officer spotted meth-making materials in plain view in the vehicle, he said.

One key meth-making component was missing, but was found later after one of the suspects, Rachile N. Elliott, 28, was searched for contraband during the booking process at the Boyd County Detention Center, McDowell said.

As a result of that discovery, Elliott was given an additional charge of possession of a meth precursor, McDowell said.

Elliott also is a suspect in another case involving meth-making, McDowell said. Police have submitted a request for prosecution in that case, but charges haven’t yet been filed, he said.

Elliott and other four suspects all were charged with first-offense manufacturing meth. The others arrested were Lisa Adkins, 42, of Catlettsburg; Brett D. Adkins, 44, and Nathan C. Ward, 30, both of Canton, Ga.; and Brian K. Adkins, 53, of Ashland.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.