Two charged after search of Bluffton home turns up meth lab

tbarton@islandpacket.comDecember 30, 2011 

Bradley T. Roy and Angelica L. Escalante are charged following a Bluffton raid revealing a meth lab.

A man and woman were charged Friday after a Thursday night raid on a Bluffton home revealed a small meth lab, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office news release.

Bradley T. Roy, 42, of Bluffton was arrested on three charges of conspiracy to purchase products containing pseudoephedrine, exceeding legal limits; manufacturing methamphetamine; and disposal of methamphetamine waste. He was already facing charges from 2010 for manufacturing methamphetamine.

Angelica L. Escalante, 29, of Hardeeville was charged with possession of meth and conspiracy to purchase products containing pseudoephedrine, exceeding legal limits.

Members of the Beaufort/Jasper Multi Agency Drug Task Force, with the assistance of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, learned that Roy and Escalante had been purchasing large amounts of pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in making meth, a news release said.

They obtained a search warrant for Roy's residence at 14 Coney Island Lane. No one was home when investigators arrived. A search yielded methamphetamine as well as components to manufacture the illegal drug, the release said.

Roy was found nearby and arrested on three outstanding warrants for purchases of large amounts of pseudoephedrine. He was later charged with manufacturing meth and discarding meth waste. Escalante was also located in the Bluffton area and arrested.

All chemicals and byproducts of the meth lab were collected and disposed of in accordance with South Carolina guidelines, the release said.

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said task force members found no more than 10 grams of crystal meth after searching the house.

"It wasn't a big cook, but he was (cooking) more than for a user amount," Tanner said. "It wasn't a full lab. It was a small version of a lab. The quantity of chemical was extremely low."

Members of the task force had arrested Roy in February 2010 on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine. According to Tanner, that case is still pending.

Roy and Escalante were being held Friday at the Beaufort County Detention Center.

Tanner said neighbors had complained about people coming and going from Roy's house at all hours. Law enforcement also checked a statewide electronic database launched Jan. 1 that tracks and blocks the illegal sale of cold and allergy products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and phenylpropanolamine. The database allows retailers, such as pharmacies, to monitor the amount of pseudoephedrine purchases, which state law limits to 3.6 grams a day and 9 grams a month.

The database scans a customer's photo identification such as a driver's license. When a sale exceeds the legal limit, an instant message is sent to the retailer recommending denial. The information is also automatically sent to the database where it can be reviewed by law enforcement.

"That was a big help," Tanner said.

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