Police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding methamphetamine labs found Sept. 13 at Renaissance Recycling Center in Hodgenville.
Officers say four one-step labs were discovered in the dumpster outside the recycling center on East Water Street and components for the illegal drug were found inside the building. Items including lye, batteries, a coffee grinder and chemicals used to make methamphetamine, were found inside a black Nike canvas bag.
The Nike bag may have been taken from LaRue County High School, according to Lt. Steve Johnson of Hodgenville City Police. Johnson received a call from the mother of a high school student claiming her son had lost a similar bag.
“He had set it down next to the recycling bin at the high school. It disappeared (about the time) workers picked up cardboard boxes from the bin,” said Johnson. “That’s where we feel the bag came from at this time.”
The bag contained lithium batteries and an iPod.
Two inmates, Jason Christopher Wood, 29, of Walton, and William Earl Meredith, 39, of Hart County, who were working at the recycling center, and James Thomas Snyder, a part-time employee of the recycling center, tested positive for drugs Sept. 14, according to Johnson.
Wood was charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, bail jumping, possession of controlled substance (meth) and second-degree burglary, according to court documents. He began his three-year sentence June 11.
Meredith is serving a three-year sentence on charges of possession of anhydrous ammonia not in appropriate container, possession of controlled substance and third-degree burglary. He was booked into the jail June 15.
Neither inmate has been charged in the September incident.
Officers found drugs and paraphernalia inside Snyder’s vehicle during a search. Trooper Brian Mouser charged Snyder, 37, with possession of controlled substance, first degree, first offense; prescription, controlled substance, not in original container; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Snyder is also under investigation for alleged theft from the recycling center, Johnson said.
Johnson said the allegations will be presented to the grand jury this month.
“We consulted with the commonwealth’s attorney to see which charges are appropriate,” Johnson said. “We’ll present the evidence directly to the grand jury and see if they want to indict based on the evidence.”
Officers have the option of presenting evidence in a preliminary hearing in district court or taking it directly to the grand jury. An indictment by a grand jury is a legal accusation and the person is considered innocent until and unless proven guilty in circuit court.
Snyder was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 29 in LaRue District Court to determine if the charges would be heard by a grand jury. However, County Attorney Dale Morris said a subpoena to appear in court was not served to a witness – Kentucky State Trooper Brian Mouser. Mouser did not work that week, Morris said.
Snyder was lodged in the LaRue County Detention Center under $5,000 cash or property bond. At his arraignment, he pleaded not guilty and asked District Judge C. Derek Reed to reduce his bond to $500 cash. Reed declined; however, at Snyder’s following court appearance Sept. 22, Reed agreed to an unsecured bond.
Inmates return to
Work release inmates – who usually help residents carry recyclables into the building – were pulled from the center during the early days of the investigation, according to Joey Stanton, chief administrative officer for the jail.
Inmates are again working at Renaissance Recycling under the direct supervision of detention center staff.
“We’ve got to keep the recycling going for the county,” Stanton said.
The jail employees supervise six inmates at the recycling center for a few hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Snyder, 37, was hired in May without a background check, according to Solid Waste Coordinator Jill Gray, who oversees the recycling center. Up until Sept. 13, he worked about 20 hours per week.
A new employee has been hired following a background check, she said.