Shoplifting call leads to meth lab bust

Published 10:10 am Thursday, January 20, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS/Staff Writer

A shoplifting call earlier this week in Alabaster led to the discovery of an active “one-pot” methamphetamine lab inside a vehicle in the parking lot, local authorities said.

Penny Chandler

Ricky William Easterling, 34, of Verbena, Penny October Chandler, 31, of Prattville, and Christopher Wayne Headley, 33, of Clanton, were arrested in connection with the discovery.

Rickey Easterling

All three were charged with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance and trafficking in methamphetamine. They were booked into the Shelby County jail and are being held on bonds of $1.6 million each.

Christopher Headley

Chandler also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Alabaster police were called to the Wal-Mart at the Colonial Promenade on Monday, Jan. 17, regarding suspected shoplifters, according to a press release issued this morning from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers located three individuals in a vehicle in the parking lot matching the descriptions given by an employee.

While investigating the trio for alleged shoplifting, officers discovered what they believed to be an active “one-pot” methamphetamine lab. The Shelby County Drug Task Force was called to the scene to assist with an investigation.

“Thanks to an alert employee at Wal-mart and quick action by the Alabaster Police Department a dangerous situation was contained and those responsible were arrested,” said Lt. Chris George, commander of the drug task force. “We are thankful to all who contribute to the ongoing battle of drug addiction and distribution.”

All of the task force’s 66 meth lab busts last year involved “one-pot” labs, George said. Generally, a one-pot lab consists of a plastic bottle, or similar-type container. “One-pot” labs are small, portable and can be deeply concealed.