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Date: 4/4/2003  "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media 
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr. 
Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie
863) 534-6217 OR (863) 819-1856, Pager 

PCSO Investigation Results In Seizure Of Meth Lab And 4 Arrests 

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.

HIDTA Task Force Information