Leader Blues

Friday, December 01, 2006

TOP STORY >>Sherwood meth lab is broken up

Leader staff writer

Pulaski County deputies celebrated National Methamphetamine Awareness Day by busting up a meth lab operation in Sherwood early Thursday afternoon.

While waiting for about three hours to obtain a search warrant, deputies detained three women outside a residence at 8017 Greer Road. The search led to the arrests of all three women.

“They were apparently in the process of a cook and we did take a small amount of the substance out of the house,” John Rehrauer, spokesman for Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, said.

Donna Gaye Hill, of 8017 Greer Road, Sherwood, and Peggy Sue Zajac, of 804 W. 22nd St., North Little Rock, were both arrested on one felony count each of maintaining drug premises, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture and endangering the welfare of a minor. Their bonds were set at $95,000 each.

Zajac was believed to be living at Hill’s residence, Rehrauer said.

A third woman, Jamie Pruss, 30, of North Little Rock, also faces multiple drug-related charges, but she was not charged with endangering the welfare of a minor because she was not living at the residence.

The child was not present at the time of the meth lab bust.

“But there was enough evidence to support that the child was living at the residence,” Rehrauer explained.

Initially, two Arkansas Department of Community Corrections officers were conducting a routine check on a parolee at Hill’s house. The parolee was identified as Hill’s daughter, but she was not there.

Once inside the residence, DCC officers noticed items consistent with manufacturing meth in the kitchen. The DCC officers also detected a strong chemical odor.

“One of the DCC officers and a deputy became somewhat dizzy from the fumes,” Rehrauer said.
Precursor chemicals involved in a meth cook include red phosphorus found on matches, an agricultural fertilizer containing ammonia and pseudoephedrine used to counteract cold symptoms.

Meth labs unleash toxic fumes posing dangers not only for the people involved with it and their families, but also professional toxic waste disposal crews and law enforcement officers.

Future tenants at homes where meth cooks took place are also at risk from toxic chemical residue. About five or six pounds of hazardous waste is generated from cooking up one pound of meth.

Some of this hazardous waste ends up being dumped onto the ground, in sewers or waterways, according to officials at www.meth-resources.gov. Meth is a highly addictive stimulant, which affects a person’s central nervous system. Meth can be snorted, swallowed or injected.