The Polk County Sheriff's Office Narcotics Unit, Organized Crime Unit, High Intensity Drug Trafficking (HIDTA) Unit and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ended a week long investigation that resulted in the seizure of a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory and 4 arrests.
On Wednesday, April 3, 2002, at approximately 10 a.m., Polk County Sheriff's detectives and DEA agents executed a search warrant on a residence located at 1731 Ritter Road in Lakeland. While executing the warrant, detectives discovered a clandestine methamphetamine lab and approximately 3.5 ounces of methamphetamine inside of the home.
Detectives learned that at least 2 ounces of meth had been manufactured from the lab on Tuesday, April 2, 2002. In fact, during the last 3 weeks, as much as 6 ounces of meth had been manufactured in the Lakeland home.
Polk County HAZMAT and a hazardous waste disposal company assisted with the clean up of the laboratory.
Those arrested ( all of which reside at 1731 Ritter Rd.) include:
Kermit Letchworth, DOB 4/12/54, charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine, Possession of Meth, Possession of Cannabis, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Robert Jones, DOB 9/29/64, charged with Conspiracy to Traffic Meth, Possession of Meth, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Tracy Degroat, DOB 1/23/72, charged with Possesison of Meth, Possession of Lorezepam, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and 5 counts of Failure to Appear for Arraignment
Donna Purdy, DOB 2/25/61, charged with Violation of Probation (VOP) Sale of Meth, 2 counts of VOP Possession of Meth, and VOP Use/Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Since January 1, 2002, 6 methamphetamine labs have been seized in Polk County.