Originally created 12/22/05

Investigators bust Martinez meth lab



Two Martinez men and an Evans woman were arrested Wednesday morning, accused of operating a methamphetamine lab out of two rooms at a Martinez motel, police said.

Russell Hinton, 42, of Martinez, and Susannah Michelle Chance, 37, of Evans, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and Travis Fredrick Lever, 34, of Martinez, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, Columbia County sheriff's Maj. Rick Whitaker said.

The three suspects are being detained at the Columbia County Detention Center, he said.

No bond had been set as of 5:30 p.m.

At about 8:30 a.m., narcotics and vice investigators with the Columbia County Sheriffs Office searched two rooms of the Georgia Inn at 434 S. Belair Road, Maj. Whitaker said.

"When they went in they discovered a fully operational meth lab in two of the rooms," Maj. Whitaker said.

"They had all the ingredients and equipment, but I don't know exactly how much of the product (investigators) were able to recover," he said.

Firefighters with Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue were called to the scene as a precaution because of the extremely volatile nature of the chemicals involved in producing the illegal drug, said Battalion Chief Danny Kuhlmann.

Several of the surrounding rooms were evacuated until it was determined conditions were safe for guests to return, Maj. Whitaker said.

Reach J. Scott Trubey at 868-1222, ext. 109, or jeffery.trubey@augustachronicle.com.



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