Weekend Bust Reveals Different Kind of Meth

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Caryville (WVLT) - Caryville Police got their hands on more than a pound of meth after a Campbell County drug bust this weekend, but it's not that clump of meth that bothers them the most. Instead, it's a smaller amount of a certain kind of meth also found in bust.

And Volunteer TV Mike McCarthy tells us what makes it much more dangerous.

It's called Red-Phosphorous or Red-P meth. A quick chemistry lesson.
The main ingredient is still pseudoephedrine, but instead of the hard to come by anhydrous ammonia, it uses phosphorous. Police say that's an explosive substitution
.
Campbell County father Chris Roger's fears have been realized.

"I think it's sad, and I have three kids myself, but it doesn't surprise me," Rogers said.

Just yards away from his home, a Saturday traffic stop.

"I noticed a lab, what was believed to be a lab in the passenger floor board," Stephanie Smith from the Caryville Police Department said.

Turns into a meth lab bust. Police say 26-year-old Jody Phillips, 25-year-old Brandy Roach-Braden, and 26-year-old Travis McCoy told them they were headed to a mobile home on Russell Lane.

"And we got to looking around the counters and we noticed in a cookie jar," Smith said.

Not cookies, but more than a pound of meth. Plus police say they also found more than 100 needles, bags of pot, and spoons full of drugs. That landed 33-year-old April Roberts and 57-year-old Edward Trowbridge, Junior in handcuffs. However, out of all this what bothered police the most was in the car.

"We are pretty convinced that it is a red-phosphorous lab," Smith said.

The first one they've found in two years, and it doesn't use a key meth ingredient.

"It's been so hard and law enforcement's made it difficult for them to possess anhydrous ammonia," Smith said.

So they use phosphorous.

"They have to have that to break down the chemicals in the pseudoephedrine to make the meth," Caryville Police Chief Bill Widener said.

So phosphorous is easy to come by, but from where? Police say strike plate on match boxes is the most popular spot. Unlike other meth, it's made in jars, not allowed ventilate, and pressure builds.

"You've got all these toxins in these jars that are contained. It's going to be more accessible to explosion," Smith said.

A dangerous discovery Rogers says he saw coming.

"We've had stuff going on in this community before and I suspect we'll have more in the future," Rogers said.

Because police say meth is the county's top drug problem.

Police say combined, all five suspects face at least 25 charges. Those include possession of meth components with intent to manufacture, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police say they bust at least one meth lab a month in Cambpell County.


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