Watchful citizens were credited with helping Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force officers make three drug arrests during the first week of October.
One tip regarding a suspicious smell coming from a residence in the Needles Eye area near Shell Knob resulted in the detection of an active meth lab. On Oct. 3, Task Force officers arrived at the residence and immediately noticed an odor consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Samuel Kelley, the 27-year-old owner of the residence, was arrested and charged with attempt to manufacture a controlled substance, possession of chemicals with the intent to manufacture a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. A second subject, Matthew Wrinkle, 25, of Aurora, was also present at the scene. He was arrested on the same charges Kelley faces.
Upon a search of the Kelley residence, officers seized two empty bottles of Heet, one bottle of drain opener, multiple coffee filters, a glass baking dish covered with white residue, two lithium batteries that had been pulled apart, a propane torch and a plastic container filled with a bi-phase liquid that field tested positive for methamphetamine.
Kelley and Wrinkle are being held in Barry County Jail in lieu of $35,000 bonds.
On Oct. 7, Task Force officers followed up on another tip turned in by a concerned citizen and arrested Shad Minton, 33, for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. When officers conducted an investigation at the home where Minton was staying, they discovered a large quantity of suspected marijuana that was packaged for distribution.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, officers seized 11 individually packaged bags of suspect marijuana, one drying marijuana plant and one set of scales.
Minton is being held in Barry County Jail in lieu of a $20,000 bond. He is currently on parole out of Arkansas on an unrelated charge.
"The Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force is greatly appreciative to the concerned citizens of Barry County that took the initiate to report these crimes," said Adam Crouch, field supervisor with the Task Force. "Without these tips, these criminal organizations could have remained intact for a long time."
Anonymous tips can be phoned into the Task Force office at 847-5010 or into the Barry County 911 Center at 847-3121.