By Frank Lewis
Two people were arrested at around 1:20 p.m. Friday on felony offenses including manufacturing the drug, methamphetamine.
Scioto County Common Pleas Court Adult probation officers went to a mobile home located on the property at 1342 Main Street in West Portsmouth, in an attempt to locate and apprehend 37 year old Michael E. Locher, of the same address, for violating probation. Probation officers were able to apprehend Locher and 27 year old Jessica L. Barber of Latham, Ohio, as officers said they attempted to flee out the rear door of the mobile home. Probation officers said they detected an odor commonly found during the manufacture of methamphetamine and discovered an active methamphetamine lab inside the mobile home.
Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini and Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said at the request of probation officers, detectives from the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force responded to the scene to initiate an investigation, process the scene, and dismantle the methamphetamine lab. The Washington Township Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services also responded to the scene upon request.
Task force detectives seized evidence showing that individuals were either in the process or had just completed the process of manufacturing methamphetamine. Suspected methamphetamine was seized from the scene.
Task force detectives discovered that a two-year-old child was present in another residence on the property located at the Main Street address and within 100 feet of where the methamphetamine was being manufactured.
Locher and Barber were charged with illegal manufacture of methamphetamine within 100 feet of a juvenile, a felony of the first degree and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine, a felony of the third degree.
Locher was also charged with violating felony probation, while Barber was additionally charged with violating parole.
Locher and Barber were placed in the Scioto County Jail and were to be arraigned in Portsmouth Municipal Court.
Both Locher and Barber are being held in the Scioto County Jail by holders placed by the Adult Probation Department of the Scioto County Common Pleas Court and the Ohio Adult Parole Authority.
Captain David Hall said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests could be made in the case.
The case will eventually be forwarded to the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office to be presented to a Scioto County grand jury.
Donini and Ware also thanked the Washington Township Fire and EMS for their quick response and assistance.
Anyone wishing to leave drug information for the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force can contact the Task Force tip line at 740-354-5656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All information will be kept confidential and anonymous.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.