Decatur County man arrested after multiple meth labs found inside home

Published 6:30 pm Friday, March 4, 2016

The Decatur County Sheriff’s office and the Pataula Drug Task Force arrested Thomas Eugene Cook, 60, on charges of trafficking methamphetamine Thursday.

Investigators initially arrived at Cook’s residence on Mount Olive Church Road in Bainbridge after receiving a tip that marijuana was being used and sold in the area.

“The initial complaint was marijuana,” said Eric Schwalls, the Commander of the drug task force. “A report was made that marijuana was being used and sold from a residence in that area. Agents went out to that area and knocked on Cook’s door and started talking to him.”

After investigators talked with Cook a search warrant was issued for his residence related to methamphetamines.

“They questioned Cook about any activities with illegal narcotics or drugs,” Schwalls said. “The result of that questioning was eventually getting the search warrant and searching for methamphetamines”

Upon entering the residence investigators discovered multiple labs and chemicals related to the manufacturing of methamphetamine.

“There were several meth labs that were inside the residence,” Schwalls said. “There was no finished product at that time, but there were ingredients to manufacture [meth]. The meth labs that were there were used meth labs.”

According to Schwalls, the danger of meth labs is related not only to the manufacture of drugs, but also the safety hazards the chemicals create.

“It is very important, not only for getting the drugs off the street or to stop the manufacture of methamphetamine, but also a safety hazard for the residents in that neighborhood,” Schwalls said. “The chemicals utilized in methamphetamine production are hazardous, plus it’s flammable.”

Schwalls declined comment on whether Cook had previously been on the Drug Task Forces’ radar or what the scale of Cook’s involvement in the manufacture and sale of methamphetamines may have been.

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