Law enforcement officers faced uncaged snakes during a search and seizure of one of two Fulton County residences on Feb. 26.
Two Fulton County residents were being held by authorities in Mississippi awaiting extradition to Fulton County to face felony drug charges while a safety team from Little Rock was dispatched to their residences in Sturkie and Salem to clean up hazardous items used for manufacturing methamphetamine.
The 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force received information from Corinth, Miss., law enforcement officers related to a local drug investigation. Fulton County officials continued the investigation and on Feb. 26 obtained a search warrant for a residence on Hill String Road in the Sturkie community registered in the name of James W. Leis, 37. Seized in the raid of the vacant home were items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, including solvents, reactions and a tank containing suspected anhydrous ammonia.
Officers conducted a second search at a home on Pickren Street in Salem, the residence of Tracie Bivins, 29, and Leis. More items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and several firearms were found, along with two python snakes roaming freely in the home.
Leis and Bivins face charges of possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.
Leis and Bivins remain in custody in Mississippi where they face charges in two different counties for manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possessing precursors (used in the manufacture of methamphetamine) and firearms charges.
Fulton County Sheriff Lloyd Martz said the operation demonstrates the cooperation his department shares with other law enforcement agencies, even across state lines. He said Leis and Bivins will face $50,000 bonds each when they are brought back to Fulton County.
Salem Mayor Gary Clayton, who also serves as a certified law enforcement instructor, assisted law enforcement officers during the raid. Clayton said he likes to keep up with new trends because when a methamphetamine lab is discovered there is usually a new device used. He said each methamphetamine cook prepares the drug in a different manner. Clayton said extreme caution is used cleaning up the drug labs because if certain materials are exposed to moisture it could result in an explosion. Clayton conducts public forums on clandestine methamphetamine labs.