Edward McElhenny, Clinton Story, Angela Story, Paul Richardson, and Kelly McCartney, all of Vero Beach, Florida, were arrested this week after they were accused of making methamphetamine at an area residence, a press release from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida indicates. McElhenny, 50; Clinton, 20; Angela, 32; Richardson, 27; and McCartney, 36, were each booked into the Indian River County Jail on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. It is unclear whether the defendants have qualified for bail bond. News sources did not specify whether the defendants had obtained legal representation.
According to the federal indictment released on Wednesday, special agents with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office and the Multi-Agency Criminal Enforcement Unit began investigating allegations of a methamphetamine lab at 1913 22nd Avenue in Vero Beach in late April. The indictment did not say what precursors led the investigators to that home.
On May 9, 2013, agents with the DEA-Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team reportedly executed a search warrant at the Vero Beach home. Inside, agents located Clinton, McElhenny, Richardson, and Angela, the indictment says. The agents detained the four defendants and reportedly questioned them about their role in the alleged meth manufacturing. Based on the indictment, Clinton, Angela, and Richardson confessed to buying pseudoephedrine for the manufacture of methamphetamine. Pseudoephedrine is sold in drugstores as a treatment for sinus-related allergy symptoms, but it can also be used to produce methamphetamine. It is most widely known by its brand name, Sudafed.
The agents conducted a thorough search of the home and the surrounding property, the indictment says. Agents reportedly located a laboratory equipped with precursor chemicals and laboratory equipment, all of which appeared be “utilized in and comprised a fully operational methamphetamine laboratory,” the indictment alleges. Agents reportedly called in a fingerprint specialist, who pulled fingerprints from the various pieces of lab equipment. The indictment claims those fingerprints matched those of Clinton, McCartney, and McElhenny. In addition, McElhenny reportedly told the agents that he had produced methamphetamine on previous occasions.
Meanwhile, McCartney told the agents that she had come to the Vero Beach home many times in the past and knew there was an active methamphetamine lab inside the home, the indictment says. McCartney also purportedly told the agents that, on several occasions in the past, she had purchased pseudoephedrine for the production of methamphetamine. According to the indictment, the defendants produced an excess of fifty grams of methamphetamine at the home.
Over the past several decades, methamphetamine has become an ever-increasing problem throughout the United States. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, methamphetamine users snort, smoke, or inject the drug directly into their veins. The short-term effects of the drug include a general sense of well-being, energy increase, and a appetite reduction. Some negative effects include aggression, confusion, paranoia, volatile mood swings, and, rarely, hallucinations. In the medical world, methamphetamine is referred to as Desoxyn and is occasionally used to treat severe cases of obesity, ADHD, and narcolepsy.