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Four Children Removed From Meth House

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

DYER COUNTY, Tenn- Four children, including a 2-month-old baby had to be removed from a home in Dyersburg after investigators found multiple methamphetamine labs inside the home, said investigators with the Dyer County Sheriff's Department.

Dyer County deputies said a tip led them to the home that a couple would be actively cooking methamphetamine in front of their young children. Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box said this case is an example of one of the most dangerous cases of child abuse.

Investigators said gas generators are used in the production of meth and have been known to explode or release toxic fumes that can easily turn deadly. "It can get no worse than creating a hazardous environment for children and putting them in that," said Sheriff Box.

Deputies arrested the mother, Britney Lee Jones,26 with manufacture, delivery and sale of a controlled substance, possession of schedule II drug (meth) and four counts of aggravated child abuse under 6 years old.

The father of the youngest two children, Charles Russell,38 is charged with one count of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture and four counts of aggravated child abuse under 6 years old.

Box said deputies found a 2-month-old, 14-month-old , 6, and 7-year- old inside the home where authorities reportedly smelled a strong chemical associated with meth labs.

"The parents doing damage to their own body is one thing but hurting a child is something else and that can't be tolerated," said Box.

Investigators said they believe meth labs are becoming a serious problem in Tennessee. Residents said they are ready to take a stand because they have had enough.

"I'm just cold about the whole situation I hate it that people do this," said Ron Read, a Dyer County resident. "I hate that they are doing this to their bodies and their lives and their family."

A third suspect Darren Kizziah has also been charged with the promotion of methamphetamine, after deputies said they found him trying to hide in the backyard with items used in the meth making process.

Sheriff Box said when deputies entered, the children were asleep in different rooms. During their investigation they recovered an active gas generator in the kitchen's garbage can, and several alleged shake-and-bake meth labs that were scattered throughout the property. The sheriff said several shake-and-bake meth labs that were recovered, were in the chemical process.

"The gas generator that was discarded in the garbage can was actually under pressure one of our officers had to go outside and relieve that pressure," said Sheriff Box.

Neighbors said they were not surprised to see the sheriff's department searching the home because they noticed the tenants were acting strange. Neighbors said they feared for the children's safety because they were they were often seen unsupervised. Residents said, the incident reminds them how damaging drugs can be. "It's not just them that hurt themselves, they hurt their loved ones," said Read.

Box said the Tennessee law known as, " Haley's Law " will be applied in this case. The law raises most child abuse charges to felonies with punishment of not less than 15 years and not more than 60 years and is used to fight meth related crimes.

If convicted, Jones and Russell could spend at least 15 years in prison. They are being charged with a Class A felony.

The three suspects are scheduled to make their next court appearance in Dyer County General Sessions Court August 6.

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