For the second time in less than a year, deputies with the Macon County Sheriff’s Office arrested a couple from the Ellijay community for operating a lab used for manufacturing methamphetamine. Authorities were assisted in dismantling the lab last week by the Cullasaja Fire Department and State Bureau of Investigation.
The lab belonged to David Lee Holland, 43, and Pamela Ledbetter Holland, 40, both of Ralph Taylor Road. The couple was arrested Thursday, March 31, at approximately 4:30 p.m.
On June 25 of last year, the Hollands were arrested for similar charges when deputies secured and dismantled a meth lab located at their Ellijay home, following a three-week-long investigation. Tips provided by members of the community prompted authorities to the investigation and arrests.
According to Macon County Sheriff’s Detective Brian Leopard, a pre-existing investigation led to the discovery of the lab, though he was not able to elaborate on how long the investigation had been ongoing. “It wasn’t just that day, it had been going on for a little while,” he said of the investigation.
Not only did authorities find chemical ingredients (precursors) used to manufacture methamphetamine, they found substances on the premises presumed to be the schedule II controlled substance. “We believe they produced meth,” said Leopard, adding that the substances found have been sent to a state lab for confirmation.
Leopard said that no estimate can be given at this time on the amount of meth that was produced at the residence, but that there was a smaller yield at Thursday’s lab seizure, as opposed to the bust last June.
This time around, Mr. and Mrs. Holland reportedly used a new method of producing the drug called “shake and bake,” in which manufacturers of the drug place all of the ingredients in a small container and periodically shake it to mix the ingredients. When the precursors found on the premises are mixed together, they create a Hydrogen Chloride gas to extract the drug from the shaken by-products. Leopard warned that with the advent of the new drug-making method, meth is perhaps making a “comeback.”
Mr. and Mrs. Holland were charged with a true bill of indictment, possession with intent to sell manufacture or distribute a methamphetamine precursor, possession of drug paraphernalia and conspiracy. The couple are each being held on a $100,000 bond.
The Hollands face a court date of April 14 for the indictment, and May 23 for the other subsequent charges. Brent Holbrooks made the arrest. According to reports, it is unknown whether the Hollands had consumed alcohol or drugs at the time of the arrest.