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December 16, 2013

Repeat meth offender behind bars...again

Man found with 3 meth labs in Georgetown home

GEORGETOWN — A man was taken into custody Saturday in the attic of a vacant Georgetown home where he was cooking methamphetamine, the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department reported.

Matthew Watson, 41, who is considered a transient, is believed to have been producing meth in three one-pot meth labs in the Quarry Road home and taken refuge in the home’s attic to evade arrest after a  nearby homeowner contacted authorities.

The incident resulted in Watson’s fourth methamphetamine-related arrest since 2011, and one of the previous arrest occurred in the same vacated home.

A neighbor had reported a suspicious vehicle parked near the home, FCSD Maj. Jeff Topping said Monday, and the deputy who responded to the scene about 7:45 p.m. determined the vehicle was registered to Watson.

Boards cover the windows and rear door of the house, and the responding deputy found one of the wooden planks unscrewed from the door and a strong odor of methamphetamine production, as well as a light, coming from inside.

Topping said the deputy announced his presence and ordered anyone in the home to come out, but no response was given to the orders. The deputy then entered the home, but, initially, no one was found.

Topping said additional FCSD deputies and Indiana State Police troopers were called to assist, and it was decided to check the home’s attic to complete the search. A deputy scaled a pull-down set of stairs leading to the attic space and discovered  Watson, who claimed, “I have the right to remain silent.”

Topping said Watson refused to cooperate with the deputy while he was taken from the attic and outside the home before he was loaded into a FCSD’s vehicle.

During the arrest, Watson was preliminarily charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, a class B felony; possession of methamphetamine, illegal drug lab, criminal recklessness, residential entry and burglary, all class D felonies; possession of drug paraphernalia, visiting a common nuisance, resisting law enforcement resulting in bodily injury, trespass and possession of [spice], all class A misdemeanors; and disorderly conduct, a class B misdemeanor.

Watson is expected to be charged as a habitual offender and habitual substance offender, which can enhance his sentencing, if he is found guilty.

Topping said those who produce methamphetamine present a danger to more than themselves.

“He poses a threat to the whole community by acting in a reckless manner,” Topping said of Watson’s recent arrest. “These types of offenders will pick just about anywhere they can to have a [meth] lab.”

Topping said methamphetamine production can result in explosions and the release of toxic chemicals.

“It is a threat to the firefighters, police officers, paramedics — any emergency personnel is put in danger, as well as the nearby homes in the neighborhood,” Topping said. “It’s a good that it all ended peacefully, and, hopefully, this time he [Watson] will be kept behind bars for a while.”

Watson was convicted of possessing chemical precursors with intent to manufacture controlled substance, a class D felony, in July 2012 in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1.

The conviction was part of a plea agreement that dismissed charges of unlawful possession of a syringe and maintaining a common nuisance, both class D felonies, and possession of marijuana and drunken driving.

Watson was charged twice for methamphetamine-related activity in 2011 in Floyd County.

Each of the cases were heard before Judge Terrence Cody in Floyd County Circuit Court.

In March 2011, Watson was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of chemical precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance and maintaining a common nuisance, all class D felonies; and possession of paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor. He was also charged with being a habitual offender and habitual substance offender.

A $1,000 payment was made toward a $10,000 court-cash bond in May, and Watson was released from the Floyd County Jail. The following September while waiting for a trial or plea agreement, Watson was charged with possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of syringe, possession of chemical precursors with intent to manufacture a controlled substance, all class D felonies, and possession of paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor.

Facing six D felony charges, two A misdemeanors charges and two habitual offender charges, a plea agreement was accepted in Cody’s court that dismissed all eight charges, excluding D felony maintaining a common nuisance.

Watson was given a three-year prison sentence, half of which was suspended to probation. He went on to serve just more than six months in the Indiana Department of Corrections and was released in June 2012.

Court records did not reflect Watson’s upcoming court date for his most recent charges as of press time.

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