|By Bob Weaver|
Grantsville resident John M. Richards (pictured left) has declared himself "The Lone Methranger," in a two-county effort to eradicate the illegal drug. He was arrested by State Police last August on charges related to operating a clandestine meth lab at his residence.
Calhoun magistrate Teresa Robinson found probable cause in the case, which will likely be presented to the January grand jury.
After his arrest, Richards mailed several video tapes to media outlets purportedly demonstrating his undercover operations to eradicate meth from the Calhoun-Gilmer area.
The tapes presented demonstrations about how meth is made and how Richards has participated in sabotaging meth operations, causing operators to "flop their batches."
Richards' undercover tapes filmed in Glenville, Grantsville and outside a bar at Lockney, allegedly showed individuals, some well-known to the area, either selling illegal drugs or making drug purchases.
Richards says he is not out to see meth-makers arrested, but motivate them to cease their operations.
Now, he has published a free newsletter titled "The Lone Methranger," containing fifteen pages about his war against the drug, saying he is "proud to be associated with a Meth Eradication Team (MET) that has served Gilmer and Calhoun Counties for two years."
Seven hundred copies have been published for distribution in the two-county area.
He claims his undercover operation has stopped hundreds of thousands of dollars of meth reaching the public, prior to his "wrongful arrest" on August 2, 2005.
Richards says his arrest has foiled his efforts and the efforts of several anonymous agents from continuing their undercover project.
"Now, it would be impossible and extremely unsafe for me or other MET members to continue operating in the trenches of the clandestine world of the meth cooker," he wrote.
Richards wrote that the Hur Herald exposed the fact that he had been supplying sabotaged materials to numerous meth labs, but Richards mailed a video to the Herald which highlighted the claim.
Richards claims "meth cookers benefited greatly" from his arrest, since he was no longer sabotaging their product. Since then, he claims production has increased.
The publication shows an aerial map of Glenville with a section of the community highlighted, where he says a meth lab is currently operating. Richards admonishes "Pack it up, quit doing it and you won't get locked up!"
There is a list about how users can seek treatment and how to obtain a free drug testing kit from Richards.
Richards has a lengthy history of prior arrests, including arrests for sexual offenses and burglary.
8/4/2005 Richards arrested in So. Grantsville meth bust
8/8/2005 Richards released on $60,000 bond
8/10/2005 Richards "single-handedly stopped meth production"
11/16/2005 Richards get plea deal over stolen property