Meth lab found in Plymouth motel

Published 12:47 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2008

By Staff
Two arrested on drug charges
Staff Writer
Authorities in Plymouth busted a methamphetamine lab inside a room at the Port-O-Plymouth Inn on U.S. Highway 64 on Sunday.
Two men, working at a local paper mill were arrested in connection with the bust. It was the first time that Washington County deputies had dealt with methamphetamine, according to Chief Deputy Brian Hardison.
Shawn Beland Matthews, 33, and Shannon Royce Whigham, 29, were arrested late Sunday afternoon at the inn, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
Whigham, who is from Montgomery, Ala., was charged with two counts of manufacturing methamphetamine including possession of precursor materials and placed under a $100,000 bond.
Matthews, of Hartsville, S.C., was charged with one count of manufacturing methamphetamine and one count of felony possession of prescription pills and was placed under a $50,000 bond. Both men worked for National Boiler Service, which hired the men to work at the Domtar Paper Company in Plymouth. Neither suspect was an employee of Domtar. Both we’re cooperative with deputies while being taken into custody and both immediately requested to see a lawyer, Hardison said.
Two other men visiting Whigham and Matthews over the weekend were not charged.
Deputies found chemicals used to process meth after responding a complaint by hotel management that “weird smells” were coming from one of the rooms at the motel, according to Hardison.
Innkeeper Raj Patel said he and his staff do not know who made the call to the Sheriff’s Department. One of the suspects had checked out of his original room and had moved to a second room by the time Patel searched the first room, he said.
Around 6 p.m., Patel said he received a call that the Sheriff’s deputies were searching the inn.
Hardison said there was evidence the men had cooked some of the drug Saturday. It did not appear the lab had been used Sunday, he said.
The Sheriff’s Department contacted the State Bureau of Investigation. SBI chemists and a hazardous-materials unit responded to the scene and confirmed that the substances were used to make meth. Patel told deputies that the tenants had been staying at the inn for about seven days, Hardison said.