DOBSON — A Dobson couple have been arrested on drug manufacturing charges after Surry County deputies were called to their home Monday.
Sheriff Graham Atkinson said Douglas Edward Dumas, 27, and Sandy Denise Wood Dumas, 23, of 655 Wind Ridge Lane, were arrested after patrol deputies responded to a report of drug activity at the residence.
“When the patrol officers arrived they saw items in view that alerted them to the possibility that methamphetamine was being produced in the residence,” Atkinson said.
Narcotics officers were called and they subsequently obtained a search warrant and located 19 one-pot meth labs in and around the residence, he said.
The labs were capable of producing a total of about 63 grams of methamphetamine during each cook, according to investigators.
Sheriff’s deputies were assisted by the State Bureau of Investigation’s Clandestine Lab Unit, who also located lye, pseudoephedrine and lithium batteries at the scene, all of which are considered precursors in the production of methamphetamine.
Both individuals are charged with manufacture of methamphetamine, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of precursor chemicals and maintaining a drug house.
Each is being held in lieu of $50,000 secured bond.
Atkinson said that unfortunately, the 19 individual labs don’t represent the largest bust in the county.
“It was a good-sized operation, but not as extraordinary as it once was,” he said, noting deputies busted a 55-lab operation in the Shoals community a year or two ago.
He said the recent increase in the number of people being charged with methamphetamine-related crimes is due to a more effective investigation strategy.
“We’re not seeing an increase in meth use, but we’re seeing an increase in the number of labs we’re able to locate and the number of people we’re able to arrest,” he said. “We’re finding that the people who produce methamphetamine often know each other.”
Atkinson said he is proud of the deputies involved in the initial investigation.
“They went there and were very observant by noticing things on the property that were precursors,” he said. “That’s what we want them to do every day when they’re out there doing their jobs.”