Man gets prison time for Walmart meth lab

Published 10:57 am Thursday, September 6, 2018

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A 43-year-old Sylacauga man will spend the next couple of years in prison after he pleaded guilty to bringing a rolling meth lab into the parking lot of the Alabaster Walmart Supercenter in February.


Griffin Allen Thompson, who lists an address on Lee Street in Sylacauga, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance during an Aug. 23 hearing in front of Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Crowson.

As a result of Thompson’s guilty plea, Crowson originally sentenced him to 15 years in prison, but split the sentence between two years in prison followed by two years of supervised probation. While incarcerated, Thompson must complete a substance abuse treatment program.

If Thompson commits any new violations in prison or while on probation, his entire 15 year prison sentence could be reinstated.

Another drug-manufacturing charge and charges of second-degree possession of a forged instrument and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia were dropped against Thompson through a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force arrested Thompson on Feb. 23 and charged him with the crimes.

On the evening of Feb. 23, patrons and employees at the store approached an Alabaster police officer who was on his regular patrol at the store and reported Thompson was acting suspiciously.

The APD officer then located the suspect in a vehicle in the parking lot, and a police K-9 indicated there was a controlled substance in the car, said Task Force Commander Lt. Clay Hammac.

After the K-9 hit on the vehicle, the APD alerted the Task Force, the Alabaster Fire Department and the Pelham Fire Department to help secure and decontaminate the scene. Hammac said Task Force officers discovered an active “shake and bake” meth lab in the suspect’s vehicle, and said the lab was dangerously close to exploding.

Dressed in Class A Hazmat suits, which is the highest level used by the Task Force, investigators were able to stabilize the lab and keep it from exploding or emitting potentially deadly vapors.

The AFD and PFD then decontaminated the Task Force investigators, following standard safety protocol, and the agencies declared the scene safe and reopened it to the public at about 9:30 p.m.