Greene County police bust meth lab

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Greene County Sheriff Johnny Isaac and his department experienced a new from of crime in their county as they brought down their first methamphetamine lab last Wednesday. Isaac said they had received reports of a possible lab operating in Forkland. With the help of the ABI, authorities located the lab in Forkland and arrested Samuel Hubbard, 53.

Isaac said the police received some tips and searched Hubbard’s residence where they found incriminating evidence.

“On March 30 we did the bust on Hubbard and seized some evidence,” Isaac said. “We found some things that suggested he was involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamines.”

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The lab was a small operation set up as a mobile unit near the steam plant on County Road 18 to make it easy to transport if the suspect were ever suspicious of a bust. Isaac said along with the meth, authorities confiscated several other items.

“He had a small operation set up there on the river,” Isaac said. “It was in an old bus that he traveled in and lived in some. That is where we found some. We also seized three or four pounds of marijuana and a small amount of meth and a stolen four wheeler that had been missing out of Tuscaloosa for a while.”

Isaac said they also found some firearms, however, they have not determined whether or not they were stolen.

Isaac also explained that meth is cooked unlike most other drugs. He said the ingredients they found at the scene matched the description of those commonly found in labs.

“When you cook it, it turns into a type of crystal.” Isaac said. “It is made with some different types of solvents, devil lye and some other things like that. That is what is used to manufacture it. They also use anhydrous ammonia and pseudoethaderine, which is basically used in cold tablets.”

Isaac said other ingredients include lithium batteries and starter fluid.

Meth is a growing problem in rural Alabama counties and Isaac said it could be a very dangerous one.

“It is deadly,” Isaac said. “This is our first one. Most people don’t run big operations. They use small ones that they just put way out of the way on the river or close to paper mills where people can’t smell it anyway.”

The bust came about when the Greene County Sheriff’s Department was informed that Hubbard was likely involved in illegal activity including theft and drugs. Isaac said they were told he was a prime candidate for a meth producer.

“What happened was that sometime ago we were tipped that this subject was likely in possession of a stolen four wheeler,” Isaac said. “We had spent some time looking for it and were also informed he was a good suspect for a meth dealer and manufacturer.”

Isaac said the Tuscaloosa police also had active warrants on Hubbard and that he is currently in their custody.

Once they felt they had enough evidence against Hubbard the department issued a search warrant. Isaac said they waited for Hubbard to come home after searching his house and had a short chase before bringing him in.

“We started with the search at about 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. and finished at about 11 p.m. that night,” Isaac said. “When he came home that night we were there waiting for him. He drove up into a residents yard and jumped out and ran. We caught him about five or 10 minutes later.”

Isaac said he hoped the bust would deter future labs in his county.

“This was our first one and we hope it is the last,” Isaac said. “We don’t think it is circulating here now. We had a rumor that is was circulating here and we checked it out and found it not to be so. We are hoping that we don’t have a problem here and the bust will send a message that we aren’t going to tolerate it here.”