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Methmakers keep local law enforcement busy

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By Damon Lawrence

Seven people are facing child abuse and drug charges after numerous items consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine were found Friday at 100 Oaks Apartments at 900 E. Wheeler St., Rockwood.

“Deputies made contact with Christopher Lee Powers, who was holding a fixed-blade knife, in apartment 204,” the Roane County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. “Deputies observed Christopher Ryan Jenkins running toward a bathroom in the apartment carrying a glass container.”

Five other adults, identified as Samuel Brock Johnson, Randella Lachelle Coffey, Ashley Crabtree, Tiffany Johnson and Nancy Johnson, were also inside the apartment.

Deputies also found a 6-year-old girl and a 3-month-old boy.

“Deputies located numerous items consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine, including one bottle containing a multi-layered liquid that showed signs of an ongoing chemical reaction,” the release said. “Also discovered were numerous items of drug paraphernalia and a plastic baggy containing approximately 3 grams of white powder that field tested positive for methamphetamine.”

All of the adults found in the apartment were charged with manufacturing a controlled substance, felony vandalism, child abuse and simple possession.

“Roane County Emergency Management responded to assist with the decontamination of all of the occupants in the apartment,” the release said.

Roane County EMS responded to check on the two children. They were turned over to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

“It was also determined during the investigation that the entire apartment building needed to be quarantined due to the possibility of cross contamination to the other apartments in the building,” a report on the incident said.
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A registered sex offender and his wife are also facing child abuse and drug charges.

The U.S. Marshals Service teamed up with local law enforcement to conduct sex offender compliance checks in Roane County last week.

Roane County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tim Phillips said an active meth lab was found when authorities went to check on Kenneth Messimer at 491 Johnson Valley Road, Philadelphia.

“When they arrived on the scene, it looked like he was in the final stages of what we call ‘gassing off’ a lab,” Phillips said.

According to a press release, deputies detained Messimer in the bathroom as he was attempting to destroy evidence.

Two children, a 12-year-old boy and an 8-year-old boy, were at the home.

They were turned over to the Department of Children’s Services.

“Deputies found numerous items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine and a handgun inside the residence,” the release said. “Roane County Emergency Management responded to the scene to assist in decontamination of the suspects and children.”

Messimer, his wife, Ruby Messimer, and Kenneth Gibson are charged with manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The three also face child abuse charges in connection with the incident.

Messimer is on the sex offender registry for incest.
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Rockwood police reported finding a meth lab in a vacant house on Jan. 4.

According to the report, police were dispatched to 505 N. Chamberlain Ave., about a burglary.
Police checked the house and reported finding the meth lab in a plastic tub in a rear bedroom.