(03/29/2006)
Mt. Zion resident Jamie Burch, 24, was sentenced one to five years yesterday by Judge David Nibert, in Roane County Circuit Court.

Burch had pled guilty and was sentenced for conspiracy to commit a felony, related to the operation of a clandestine meth lab.

Judge Nibert rejected a recommendation by Roane prosecutor Mark Sergent for probation, reportedly using terms set forth by a pre-sentence investigation conducted by probation officer Patsy McCartney.

Burch had been actively enrolled in a drug and alcohol treatment program through Westbrook.

He was arrested with two other subjects in Roane County last July, after authorities stopped a truck near the Calhoun County line.

The vehicle was carrying materials for operating a clandestine drug lab, according to Roane County Sheriff Todd Cole.

The arrests led to a search warrant being issued in Calhoun for a camping trailer along the West Fork River near Cremo, a site allegedly being used for manufacturing meth.

Also charged in the incident were Lelia Fay Hardway, 33, and Douglas Lee Bottenfield, 33, both of the Spencer area.

Following the stop, Sheriff Cole said Burch gave permission to search the truck, after which Chief Deputy Jeff Smith discovered almost a full case of matches, a full can of acetone, Coleman fuel, Red Devil lye, rock salt and other materials used to make meth.

Authorities said Burch was cooperative, signed his Miranda Rights and agreed to make a statement and answer questions.

According to a police statement, Burch said there was an attempt to manufacture meth in Calhoun near Cremo, but the items were loaded up for transport to Douglas Bottenfield's residence in Roane.

Bottenfield and Hardway had previous arrests.

Authorities stopped Hardway last year and discovered meth lab ingredients, which they took to the Spencer State Police Detachment.

While unloading, the ingredients ignited, causing fire damage to an area of the barracks.


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