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County sees increase in meth cases

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Godfrey arrest is fifth of 2014

By Chris Sardelli

A Lancaster man was arrested this week in what has become the sheriff’s office’s fifth meth bust so far this year. 

Jeffrey Gerald Godfrey, 1444 Morris Hinson Road, was arrested Monday, March 31.

Godfrey, 45, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste, possession of schedule IV controlled substance, possession of marijuana and driving under suspension, according to a Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office incident report. Godfrey remains jailed at Lancaster County Detention Center on a $95,000 surety bond.

A passenger in Godfrey’s pickup, Misty Small, was also cited during the incident for possession of marijuana, the report said.

Members of the sheriff’s office’s drug task force found Godfrey about 2:45 p.m. that day as they were conducting surveillance in the areas of Flat Creek, Beacon and Morris Hinson roads.

Based on information that Godfrey had a suspended driver’s license, they pulled him over as he was driving a white pickup truck near Primus Crossroads, the report said.

As the car slowed down, investigators noticed Godfrey digging around in the middle seat area of the truck.

“The passenger (Small) continued fumbling around in the truck and there was a lot of ‘stuff’ in the front of the vehicle and floorboard, therefore both subjects were asked to step out of the vehicle,” a deputy wrote in the report.

Deputies then checked with DMV records and confirmed Godfrey’s license was suspended.

While searching the pickup, task force officers found a tin can filled with three meth smoke pipes; an empty pack of lithium batteries; three Xanax pills; a tin filled with straws and plastic containers; butane fuel; a cell phone; a glasses case containing 1 gram of marijuana; a tin can containing 1 gram of marijuana; a pink container containing 1 gram of marijuana and a glass smoke pipe; a pill case; and a piece of a pill, the report said.

After the items were discovered, investigators asked Godfrey for permission to search his home as part of an “active methamphetamine investigation,” to which he agreed, the report said.

Inside his home, deputies seized several other items, including a glass smoke pipe from a bedroom and a plastic bag filled with a white granulated substance. Found in a burn pile in the backyard were aquarium tubing, blister packs, open batteries, lithium strips, and the remains of an Hcl (hydrogen chloride) generator, the report said.

He was later arrested.

Fifth meth arrest since January

Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Matt Shaw said Wednesday that Godfrey’s arrest is the fifth such meth operation deputies have located and shut down in the county in 2014.

“Traditionally we have not had a whole lot of issue with it (meth), but we’ve seen an increase lately,” Shaw said.

Other notable busts this year included the discovery of a mobile meth lab during a traffic stop on a car along Shiloh-Unity Road, as well as the roundup of several people during the LCSO’s “Operation Stamp Out” drug sweep earlier this year. In the latter case, Shaw said, those people were manufacturing meth inside rooms at the Lancaster Inn on Charlotte Highway (U.S. 521).

“A number of years ago, when you’d hear about meth production, you’d think about it being made in big labs with burners and lots of test tubes everywhere,” he said. “But now, these folks have figured out a different way to make it that’s easier. They’re making it in the trunks of their cars now.”

Shaw also explained the difficult nature of cleaning up scenes where meth is found, as well as the reason why Godfrey was charged with unlawful disposal of methamphetamine waste.

“The combination of things people use to manufacture methamphetamine are hazardous and there is a statute that addresses that and makes disposal of these things a criminal act,” he said. “So obviously, people who are making it, they can’t dispose of it legally. If we find it, we have to call a company to come and clean it up and dispose of it properly because it’s hazardous. It will burn your skin or irritate your lungs.”

In addition to the county’s meth busts, there have been several meth-related arrests in the city of Lancaster this year as well.

On March 12, police officers discovered a meth lab inside a home at 1405 Crestfield Drive in the Gregwood subdivision just off S.C. 9 Bypass near the University of South Carolina Lancaster.

In that case, Christy Nicole Knight, 30, and Scott Veld Duncan, 42, both of 1405 Crestfield Avenue, were each arrested and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and exposing a child to methamphetamine, though Duncan was also charged with possession of a sawed-off shotgun, according to Lancaster Police Department press releases.

Soon after, married couple Donald Stephen Ford, 42, and Jeannie Maric Ford, 43, both of 1414 Crestfield Drive, were arrested and each charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia in connection with the case, according to a separate police department incident report. 

 

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416