Members of meth cooking operation charged

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The Union County Grand Jury has indicted members of an alleged meth-making operation.
The grand jury has indicted Joseph P. Combs, along with his mother, Cheryl A. Cleversy and Jessica Marie Edginton Sherry Kay Orr, Andrea Jo Pate and Benjamin Ray Walborn.
In January, local law enforcement officials received an anonymous call about activity at 18725 Pottersburg Road, Marysville. Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips said an investigation began. He said investigators used a confidential informant to get additional information. Officials got a warrant to put a GPS tracking device on Pate’s car.
Phillips said Combs was “the cook.”
“He had some help, but the others were allegedly basically buying, or stealing depending on the case, cold medicine and other things they needed to make methamphetamines,” the prosecutor said.
He explained that many cold medicines contain pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make methamphetamine.
Phillips explained that is why some cold medicines are kept behind pharmacy counters. He said anytime those cold medicines are purchased, the buyer must show identification and the information is recorded.
“The reason you have to this is because of groups like this who use cold medicine to make meth,” Phillips said.
Additionally, Phillips said members of the group were stealing anhydrous ammonia, a fertilizer also used in meth production.
He said Combs was allegedly using a dangerous method of meth production known as “one pot.” All the ingredients are poured into a single pot, often a soda bottle, that can be sealed with the chemical reaction causing pressure. The mixture, when exposed to oxygen, can burst into flames. The one pot method is used to make small batches of methamphetamine.
“That creates a very dangerous situation,” Phillips said. “It is a highly volatile process.”
On March 4, deputies with the Union County Sheriff’s Office stopped Combs’ vehicle.
While Combs and the other occupants of the car were being questioned, the special response team, along with detectives with the Union County Sheriff’s Office, Marysville Division of Police and agents with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) executed a search warrant at the home on Pottersburg Road.
According to court documents, once inside the home, investigators determined “there was a clandestine lab located within the residence.”
Phillips said investigators found one pot in use and another that had been recently used.
He said the special response team was used because, “anytime you are dealing with people involved in the production of drugs, there is a danger, but meth users especially because they will go days without sleep and they experience a tremendous amount of paranoia so you don’t know how they may react.”
Lt. Jeff Stiers with the Multi-Agency Drug Enforcement (M.A.D.E.) Task Force said investigators seized, “evidence of a meth lab and ingredients to make meth from the home.”
According to court documents, Combs told investigators he, “had been manufacturing methamphetamine since he was 17 years old.”
“Joseph Combs told detectives that the meth lab that was located within the residence was his and no one else was involved,” according to court documents. “After Joseph Combs admitted to the manufacturing of methamphetamine, he told detectives he did not want to speak anymore.”
Phillips said it is “really hard to say” what Combs was doing with the drugs.
“My understanding is that he was using it for himself and the people associated with him,” Phillips said. “Whether he was selling to anyone else, the evidence doesn’t show that.”
He said that because these meth labs create a danger to the public and the makers, officials often shut them quickly rather than further the investigation.
Combs, 42, of 18725 Pottersburg Road, Marysville, is charged with two counts of illegal manufacture of drugs and one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated trafficking in drugs, burglary and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs. If convicted on all counts he could face more than 40 years in prison.
Edginton, 29, whose last known address was 151 E. Maple St., North Lewisburg, is charged with two counts of illegal manufacture of drugs and one count of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs. If convicted on all counts, Edginton could face as many as 21 years in prison.
Orr, 43, of 18725 18725 Pottersburg Road, Marysville, is charged with two counts of illegal manufacture of drugs, and one count of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs. If convicted on all counts, Orr could face as many as 21 years in prison.
Benjamin Ray Walborn, 53, of 265 W. Elm St., Apartment 1, North Lewisburg, is charged with two counts of illegal manufacture of drugs and one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs. If convicted, he could face as many as 31 years in prison.
Andrea Jo Pate, 54, of 265 W. Elm St., Apartment 1, North Lewisburg, is charged with two counts of illegal manufacture of drugs and one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs. If convicted, she could face as many as 31 years in prison.
Cleversy, 63, of 18725 18725 Pottersburg Road, Marysville, is charged with two counts of illegal manufacture of drugs, and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. If convicted, she could face as many as 26 years in prison.



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