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80 Years Ago

Archives 2001 09-05-2001




Open House Set For Future Museum
Sheriff's Dept. Closes Two Meth Operations
Dale Hollow Shoreline Cleanup Set


Open House Set For Future Museum

The former Overton County Jail has been selected as the site of the new Overton County Legacy Museum. Before renovation of this building begins, Overton County Historical Society will hold an open house. Anyone who would like to tour the facility is welcome to stop by the facility Sunday, Sept. 9 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum committee has been busy cleaning and planning the new use of the building. Anyone interested in helping preserve the county heritage is invited to visit. The committee was given a small planning grant from the Tennessee Humanities Council, but more funding is needed to complete the museum as planned.


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Sheriff's Dept. Closes Two Meth Operations

Two major methamphetamine operations were put to an end last week, according to the Overton County Sheriff's Department.

Deputy Greg Etheredge said, "These were not little players, in our opinion these were big players. Not like regional, but for here they were doing a lot."

The Sheriff's Dept. began planning strategy around 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27 to take down a suspected meth lab in the Hull Road area of Monroe.

A search warrant was obtained for a residence reportedly belonging to James Handcock. "We had been watching him for some time," Dep. Etheredge said.

"We executed the search warrant somewhere between 2 and 3 o'clock in the morning."

The search warrant was executed, but no one was home when officers breached the residence.

Deputies reportedly saw signs of a possible meth lab in the kitchen.

"We found some acetone, Coleman fuel, and we found a lot of Sudafed containers, packets inside.

"The other part of the lab was in a case. It came out of a closet in the back bedroom. It had the tubing and all that kind of stuff,” Dep. Etheredge said.

Deputies also did a sweep outside the residence.

"There was a table, probably 50 yards from the house, kind of out in the woods. It was like a card table set up, had a Coleman stove out there, propane tank, there was a pH test strip out there. I found one on the ground. We found pH test strips in the house.

"They didn't have a swimming pool or hot tub, so I really don't know what else purpose that would have served."

Back at the residence, Dep. Frank Dial and Dep. Lee Dulworth reportedly saw more materials on the back deck – Red Devil lye and what is believed to be meth oil. "It had layers of stuff floating on top of it.

It had a turkey baster there, a dropper, and two other containers, and some acid and stuff mixed with it.

"Then there was a five gallon bucket, underneath that five gallon bucket was what they call the ‘mother jar'," Dep. Etheredge said.

Task force agents also allegedly found what they believe is methamphetamine product.

A perimeter was set up around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28 to wait for anyone who might be coming to the residence.

A car with Donnie Bilbrey as a passenger and Penny Kirby driving came to the residence. Upon investigation, deputies determined that they were involved with the operation. James Handcock drove by the residence around 6:30 a.m. and was pursued by Deputies Eddie Mott and Greg Etheredge, who pulled him over and arrested him.

HAZ/MAT was called in for cleanup at the location. While the investigation was continuing at the Monroe scene, Deputies Randall Slayton and Larry Bates received information on another possible meth operation. Deputies Slayton, Bates, Dulworth, and Heather Howell went to Old Highway 136, in the Christian Community Road area, to check it out.

When Earl Graybeal came to the door of the residence, deputies allegedly detected the smell of methamphetamine.

"Methamphetamine has a very particular odor," Dep. Etheredge said. "To me it smells like a dirty hospital, that's the way I describe it."

They also reportedly saw some other items on the porch that are used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

"So based on exigent circumstances they went ahead and secured the residence," Dep. Etheredge said.

Graybeal and his wife, and two other individuals on the property were detained while Dep. Slayton went for a search warrant.

When he returned with the warrant, DEA had joined in the investigation. According to Dep. Etheredge, authorities found enough items to make more than four meth labs.

"Some chemicals there were more of than others," Dep. Etheredge said. "The home inside just reeked of methamphetamine, it made you sick. There was enough stuff to make a lab on the inside, finished methamphetamine inside, over half a gram.

"The kicker was on the outside. It was a tent. It was like what they show in the police academy.

"The guy out there had some lights, had a power cord going there from the house, and all the necessary items.

"In addition to that, Heather Howell found meth oil type stuff down at the edge of the driveway of the home."

In an old trailer on the property, authorities reportedly found a footlocker with materials, including a gas mask.

Partial remnants of a lab was reportedly found in a field.

"There was just stuff over a 10 acre stretch," Dep. Etheredge said.

"We arrested all of them that was there, seized the vehicles, seized a lot of property, and home."

Bond was set at $500,000 for those involved.

In connection with the Old Highway 136 case, Earl Graybeal and Deborah Lou Graybeal are each charged with possession of methamphetamine for resale; and John Barnwell, Gary Cowan, and Diane Wyatt are each charged with manufacturing methamphetamine with intent to resell.

In connection with the Monroe case, James M. Handcock, Penny Kirby, and Donnie Bilbrey are each charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.


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Dale Hollow Shoreline Cleanup Set

Dale Hollow Lake will get spruced up Saturday, Sept. 29, thanks to volunteers participating in an effort that seeks to protect America's natural resources. Participation is needed as part of National Public Lands Day.

Ronnie Smith, resource manager at Dale Hollow Lake, said, "Our forests, parks, beaches and recreation areas are national treasures. National Public Lands Day provides everyone a chance to roll up their sleeves and give something back to this beautiful resource."

Dale Hollow's Fall Shoreline Cleanup will begin Saturday, Sept. 29, beginning at 8 a.m. Check-in stations will be located at Red Oak Ridge Horse Trail, Pleasant Grove, Lillydale Day Use, and Obey River Park Recreation Areas in Tennessee and the Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park in Kentucky. Cleanup volunteers are invited to a free cookout to be held the same day at 2 p.m. located at the Dale Hollow Dam Recreation Area in Celina.

Another event, "Project Phoenix", is a multi-faceted reforestation program to replace dead pines devastated by the Southern Pine Beetle by planting native hardwoods in damaged campgrounds and recreational areas.

In addition, "Project Phoenix" will provide habitat improvement by planting warm season grasses, winter wheat, and seedlings along the shoreline of Dale Hollow Lake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Friends of Dale Hollow Lake, Inc., and the Dale Hollow Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation sponsor these events. But, assistance is needed for the success of these programs.

For more information contact Sondra Hafling at the Resource Manager's Office at (931) 243-3136.




Overton County News
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