News Release
Date: September 8, 2008
Contact: S/A Edward Marcinko,
PIO Baltimore Dist. Office
Number: 410 579-5033

Two Charged In Frederick County Meth Lab Bust

SEP 9 -- (Baltimore, MD) – On September 5, 2008, Toby Thomas, age 34, and Rose Johnson, age 31, both of Frederick, Maryland were charged by complaint today with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, after law enforcement searched their residence early this morning and seized items used to produce methamphetamine, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

“The production of methamphetamine is highly volatile and hazardous,” stated U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “We are working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe from this highly addictive illegal drug.”

“Methamphetamine abuse shatters families and threatens our communities” stated Special Agent Edward Marcinko, Public Information Officer of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office. “The chemicals used to make methamphetamine in a clandestine lab are very hazardous. It doesn’t matter if a lab is active or inactive -- what matters is that the lab is dismantled and the threat of an explosion or chemical spill is removed.” stated Marcinko.

According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, as part of an ongoing DEA investigation in San Diego, California into clandestine methamphetamine laboratories, the DEA received information that Thomas was ordering and receiving items through the mail that were consistent with the production of methamphetamine. Agents surveilling Thomas’s residence in July and August 2008 found numerous items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine in a trash can in front of the home of the defendants, including plastic cups containing a clear crystal-like substance, a laboratory beaker, a reddish brown liquid consistent with the color of iodine, wooden stirring sticks, a syringe plunger, match sticks, an empty can of paint thinner, an empty bottle of hydrogen peroxide, empty butane cylinders, an empty container of drain opener and receipts for the purchase of over-the-counter drugs containing psuedo-ephedrine.

The defendants face a minimum mandatory sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. Thomas was arrested this morning. He is expected to have his initial appearance in federal court this afternoon and the government is seeking his detention. Law enforcement authorities are searching for Johnson.

A complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Maryland State Police, the Frederick City Police Department and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Romano and Bryan Giblin, who are prosecuting the case.