Pubdate: Tue, 21 Jan 2003
Source: Herald Chronicle, The (TN)
Copyright: The Herald Chronicle 2003
Contact: 906 Dinah Shore Blvd Winchester, TN 37398
Author: Wayne Thomas


Some 200 Franklin Countians braved cold temperatures and northerly winds to 
pack into the Winchester Pavilion Saturday to listen to federal and local 
investigators speak on the dangers of methamphetamines.

Among the speakers were Vince Margona, Special Agent in charge over the 
state of Tennessee; Ben Scott, resident agent; Special DEA Agent David 
Shelton; Cindy Kilpartrick of the Department of Human Services, and her 
supervisor Mary Earp; Winchester Police Drug Agent Danny Mantooth and Billy 
Anderson; Winchester Public Safety Director Dennis Young; and Franklin 
County Sheriff's Drug Investigator Mike Bell and other law enforcement 

Shelton told those in attendance that methamphetamine use could cause tooth 
loss, as well as sores that can develop all over the body. Shelton made a 
statement that surprised a number of those in attendance: that Franklin 
County ranked tenth in Tennessee in the production of methamphetamines last 

Kilpatrick provided startling information when she said that between the 
first of September and the end of October of 2002 there were 39 children 
removed from their homes and of that number 38 were from homes where 
methamphetamines were in use. She noted that state law now allows the child 
services workers to permanently remove a child from the parent's custody if 
the parents are convicted of producing methamphetamines around the children.

While Mantooth and Bell spoke to the audience, Winchester Police 
Investigator Billy Anderson wore a protective suit that the officers are 
required to wear while dismantling the dangerous labs. The officers also 
told of the dangers facing them when they enter a house where a suspected 
meth lab is in operation. They pointed to the fact that often times when 
they enter a house, there will be numerous weapons in the residence.

Because of the dangers from the weapons, Mantooth noted that the officers 
often times use a SWAT team to go into the houses to naturalize those 
inside the residence. As he spoke, the members of the Winchester Police 
SWAT team entered the building.

One of those in attendance stated that just the "sight of those people was 
enough to scare" people.

After about one and half-hours of discussion, Young--who moderated the 
event--opened the floor up for questions.

"We were well pleased at the questions asked," Young stated. "There were 
even some young kids there who were concerned about meth." Young said he 
was surprised when one man spoke up and stated that he had not been out of 
jail long for the possession of meth.

The man told of what it was like to be in "an eight by eight cell" and the 
horrors of trying to get off of the drug. "He was able to provide the 
citizens an inside look at this horrible world," Young explained.

In addition to the officers who spoke, the Southeast Tennessee 
Methamphetamines Task Force truck was present to allow people to see what 
is used to clean up chemicals from a lab also in attendance was a 
helicopter Tennessee National Guard Counter Drug Unit.

"We were well pleased that the citizens turned out for informational 
meeting and we plan to hold some more of these type meetings," Young said. 
"I think this shows how concerned the public is about this serious problem 
in our community."

However, the officers expressed their disappointment that no elected 
official was in attendance for the meeting.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens