The arrest of a 21-year-old Augustan in the fatal shooting of a pawnshop owner has led to what authorities are calling one of the largest methamphetamine labs ever discovered in Augusta.
Immediately after the slaying of James "Benny" Tidwell at his store - Mo Money Jewelry & Pawn - investigators began tracking Clinton Alexander Shelton across the county and arrested him Monday evening in Hephzibah and charged him with murder.
Through interviews with the suspect and associates, the investigation has also led to the arrest of seven other people on meth-related charges and had investigators working through the night to track down leads in what has become a fruitful case.
Investigators seized about $1,000 in meth along with ingredients and equipment to make the drug from a home at 2501 Coleman Ave. on Monday night based on information obtained during the homicide investigation, according to Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Jason Vinson.
"In 10 years in the Narcotics Division I've never seen a residence that had been completely turned into a meth lab," Vinson said. "The kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, the kitchen stove - the entire house was a lab."
Deputies have arrested four people on charges of trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamine in connection with the Coleman Avenue home. They are: Cyndi Bowen, 36; Raymond Thomas, 48; David Lynn Riley, 49; and Wendy Jo Diehl, 45. Deputies also arrested three other people in connection with a pickup-truck mobile meth lab found during the investigation. They are: Eva Maria Newman, 44; Ronald James Driggers, 27; and Brandon Lee Cook, 21.