Chelsea man arrested for meth

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Forty-five-year-old Dennis Neal Hartley is in the custody of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on a $1 million bond after drug enforcement officers busted a meth lab in Chelsea last week.

Hartley was taken into custody by members of the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force last Wednesday after officers responded to an anonymous tip regarding methamphetamine production at a residence on County Road 335 in Chelsea, according officials in the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Hoover Police Department’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team aided the task force at the scene.

Due to the nature of methamphetamine production, clandestine meth labs pose a threat because of their resulting toxic chemicals and potentially explosive byproducts.

But officials on the scene also discovered explosives not tied to meth production.

&8220;(Hartley) had an improvised explosive devise, which is generally used to cause destruction or injury,&8221; said Capt. Chris Corbell of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

&8220;That’s another reason why that scene was so dangerous.&8221;

A certified hazardous materials clean-up team released the scene shortly after the incident.

Hartley faces charges of Unlawful Manufacture of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree with additional federal and state charges pending, officials said.

The investigation is still pending.

&8220;The illegal production and use of methamphetamine poses a significant danger to the citizens of Shelby County and to all of the law enforcement officers responsible for investigating and cleaning up these laboratories,&8221; Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry said.

Officials estimate meth lab busts in Shelby County occur at a rate of about two per month.

The drug enforcement task force relies heavily on information provided by the public as well as officers in the field, Corbell said.

Tips can be called in anonymously to 670-0436, or passed on through the Sheriff’s Office website