Meth lab discovered after routine stop, 2 arrested - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Meth lab discovered after routine stop, 2 arrested

Rickey Thweatt (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office) Rickey Thweatt (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office)
Benjamin Giordiano (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office) Benjamin Giordiano (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office)
Containers found in a meth lab behind the suspect's home. (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office) Containers found in a meth lab behind the suspect's home. (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office)
Containers found in a meth lab behind the suspect's home. (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office) Containers found in a meth lab behind the suspect's home. (Source: Harris County Sheriff's Office)

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

HARRIS COUNTY, GA  (WTVM) - Authorities in Harris County tell News Leader 9 a routine traffic stop led them to a major drug bust. 

Ricky Thweatt, 44, was captured by authorities during a routine traffic stop at Martin and Lick Skillet Roads.

We are told Thweatt was stopped for a tail light violation late Tuesday.

During the stop, sheriff's deputies found methamphetamines and a firearm in his vehicle. During the field interview, Thweatt gave authorities permission to search his home and a search warrant was issued.

Sheriff Mike Jolley said Thweatt and his passenger, Benjamin Giordiano, were suspected drug users and dealers.  "We just never had the probable cause to get in the house.  Because of my deputies' fast reaction and coordinated effort of communication, it was a job well done.  I am proud of them."

Investigators found a methamphetamine lab in a shed behind his house that had 115 containers of ingredients to make methamphetamines.

Clean-up crews worked for ten hours to get dangerous material out of the Harris County neighborhood.  The clean-up crew told News Leader Nine it was the largest meth lab they have seen in 5 years. 

The active lab was in a shed, yards from the home's back door. Inside the shed were plastic bottles, propane tanks, and other drug paraphernalia actively cooking methamphetamine.

Investigators say Thweatt's wife and 15-year-old son lived in the home.  Thweatt's family told deputies they had no idea the highly explosive chemicals were right in their back yard. 

"I am just glad no one was injured.  Meth labs are inherently dangerous.  They can blow up. The fumes themselves can cause damage.  They are fortunate they were not injured," said Jolley.

Thweatt is behind bars on charges of possession and trafficking of methamphetamines, as well as the possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Benjamin Giordiano, a passenger in Thweatt's vehicle, has been charged with possession.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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