Meth lab suspect still at large

Published 11:04 pm Monday, November 24, 2008

Authorities are still searching for one man involved with the creation and operation of a methamphetamine lab in Thorsby.

Officers are looking for any information on the location of Troy O’Neal Roberts, 43, of Clanton. Roberts is wanted on charges of unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of precursor chemicals, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is facing a $35,750 bond.

Roberts and another man were being investigated by the Chilton County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force after a few citizens made calls about a local business selling drugs. On Nov. 18, Roberts was pulled over for a routine traffic violation. After receiving information about Smith’s past, the task force asked for permission to search his business.

At first, the suspect agreed to the search; however, upon arrival at the business, the suspect allegedly refused the search and said a warrant had to be presented to search the building. Officers left the scene only to be called back after a citizen reported hearing explosions coming from the business located on Montana Avenue.

Upon arriving at the business, the officers found nothing that would tell any kind of explosions happened. They did find, however, that the power box had been jumped to the building next door.

It was at that time that the fire marshal was contacted, and he visited the building to verify that the fire code was being followed. He then noticed materials and articles that are used in the process of manufacturing meth, and he contacted the task force.

On Nov. 19, a search warrant was granted for the business on Montana Avenue as well as the building adjoining it. During the search, the task force investigators found a meth lab. The following day, Jeremy O’Neal Smith returned to the shop and was arrested with charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released on a $750 bond. At this time, Roberts, who is leasing the second building, is still at large.