Meth lab busted near Brevard County jail

3:26 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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Deputies arrested Matthew Arrington, 28, and Ramona Bush, 24, who is pregnant, after discovering the drug lab just blocks from the jail on Tuesday.

Sharpes, FL (Florida Today) -- A judge on Wednesday set a $300,000 bond for a man accused of operating a methamphetamine lab in a backyard shed. The judge then allowed a female suspect in the case - who is 9 months pregnant - to be released to seek medical treatment.

Deputies arrested Matthew Arrington, 28, and Ramona Bush, 24, after discovering the drug lab just blocks from the jail on Tuesday. Each is charged with trafficking, manufacturing and possessing methamphetamine, among other charges.

Assistant State Attorney Gary Beatty asked that Arrington be held on the high bond "due to the nature of this offense in particular, (and) the danger to the public that's inherent in meth labs, the explosive component; that it can blow up and kill people in the neighborhoods."

But because Bush is nine months pregnant, Beatty asked she be allowed to be released with an ankle monitor so she could seek medical care. He said it was "problematic" for the jail to hold an inmate with such a high-risk pregnancy, adding that the woman had used meth while pregnant with the couple's child.

The lab was discovered in a backyard shed at 6996 Evergreen Road when Rockledge police officers went there on an "unrelated law enforcement matter," sheriff's Major John Mellick said in a news release. Police saw evidence of a meth lab and called the Brevard County Sheriff's Office special investigations unit.

Deputies found an active lab inside a building at the back of the property, which is just blocks from the Brevard County jail, and found 43 grams (about 1.5 ounces) of finished meth and 2,800 grams of meth oil, officials said. Meth oil is an unfinished form of the drug.

Court records show that Rockledge police charged Arrington with violating an injunction - a court order designed to prevent domestic violence - in late January. When he was released from jail on January 31, a judge ordered him not to have contact with Bush.

Brevard County Sheriff's Lt. Dan Singleton said law enforcement officers often discover meth labs as part of other unrelated investigations, as in this case, or based on tips from the public.

"They're usually identified and called in by neighbors, who smell odors the meth cooking puts off," he said.

"If they suspect anything, they can call us and we'll follow up with the tip. Or they can call Crimeline and leave the tip anonymously."

Crimeline is at 800-423-TIPS (8477).

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