GALLIPOLIS — With the discovery of dozens of meth labs in Gallia County in recent months, Gallia County Children’s Services is advising that they maintain a “zero tolerance” policy for children discovered in a home where methamphetamine is being produced.
According to Gallia County Children’s Services Executive Director Russ Moore, the care of any child found in a home where the illicit drug is being produced will immediately be removed from that home.
“We want to make this clear, because this is happening more often, and there have been several cases where, indeed, there have been children living in the same home where the production of meth is taking place, when we discover that is the case, via a law enforcement discovery, child protective services will intervene to take the care of the children away from the parent,” he said.
According to Moore, while the immediate care of the child will be taken from the parent or guardian within whose home the meth is being produced, it is also a very definite possibility that the permit custody of the child or children will be taken away as well.
“Frankly, it’s just this simple, because methamphetamine is so dangerous chemically — because of the impact it can have on the children’s health; and secondly, but just as equally a concern, is the potential for an explosion or fire associated with the production of the drug that could obviously bring great harm or death,” Moore said.
“It’s just going to be a zero tolerance policy — zero tolerance,” he stated. “There won’t be any, ‘well, we’ll talk about it or whatever,’ they are just coming out.”
The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office has released the discovery of two methamphetamine labs this week within the county, the most recent of which does, indeed, involve the discovery of children in the home.
According to a press release issued by Sheriff Joe Browning, two were arrested on Thursday for the illegal manufacture of drugs at a residence on Georges Creek.
Deputies responded to 1900 Georges Creek Road to investigate a citizen tip about methamphetamine being made at the home.
Reportedly, two “one-pot” type containers used in the production of meth, as well as other items used to produce the drug were found at the home.
Arrested at the scene by deputies were Mary Marcum, 33, and Aaron Fitzpatrick, 19, who were transported to the Gallia County Jail.
According to the release, deputies also contacted children’s services to attend to two children, ages nine and 10, that were present at the home upon their arrival.
Gallia County EMS and the Gallipolis Fire Department also responded on Thursday to standby while the scene was being processed.
Both Marcum and Fitzpatrick are being charged with first-degree-felony count of illegal manufacturing of drugs due to the presence of the children in the home.
Browning also reported that the first meth lab discovered by deputies this week was found at 11:40 p.m. on Tuesday at an outdoor location near a residence in the 2600 section of Ohio 588 in Green Township.
Upon their arrival, deputies, with the assistance of the Gallipolis police and fire departments, were able to secure the scene and dismantle the “one-pot” lab.
One male was reportedly detained in connection with the lab discovery. His name has not been released.
Browning also reported that deputies have secured information concerning a second male that fled the scene on Tuesday evening.
All charges are pending consultation with the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office.
Anyone with information concerning drug activity in Gallia County is urged to call the sheriff’s office tip-line at (740) 446-6555.