News and Tribune

June 13, 2013

Meth lab found in abandoned New Albany home

Stolen vehicle located outside residence

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY —

Two arrests were made by New Albany police after responding to an abandoned home suspected of methamphetamine activity May 31.

Ricky S. Robb Sr., 47, of 317 W. Fifth St. in New Albany, and Alice Berryman, 49, of Marengo, were both found in the home along with an active methamphetamine lab, which was located under a bathroom sink, police reported.

When police arrived about 12:30 p.m. the home was clearly an abandoned property, as its electric box had been removed, the yard was not manicured and several large branches and debris were scattered about. The two responding officers also noticed there was no running water or electricity at the home.

“As [the officers] made their approach, a very strong chemical odor was detected near the front of the residence,” according to the affidavit. “Both [officers] immediately recognized the odor to be associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine.”

While examining the property, the officers reported hearing voices coming from inside the home.

Before trying to enter the home, additional officers were called to the scene to provide back-up.

With reinforcements in place, an officer knocked on the front door of the home and gave verbal commands for the home’s occupants to exit the residence.

No one came to the door, police reported, but one of the officers saw a male, later identified as Robb, through a window, but still no one exited the home.

Police then decided to force entry into the residence, and once inside directed Robb and Berryman to floor, and both were placed into handcuffs. No one else was found in the home.

“During the security sweep, officers located several items commonly used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine in plain view,” according to the affidavit.

Robb told police that he did not know who owned the residence, but he had been staying there for about one month.

“[Robb] agreed that he is currently trespassing and only moved into the residence because he had no other place to live,” according to the affidavit.

A Chevrolet S-10 pick up truck spray painted black was found parked in front of the residence, which police investigated and determined to be stolen. It was without a license plate and had been reported stolen 10 days earlier.

Robb told police he had driven the vehicle about four days before, “but had nothing to do with the theft of the vehicle.”

The Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Response Team was called to the home for safe disposal of the active methamphetamine lab and several other inactive labs or old labs that had been placed in a garbage receptacle outside of the home.

After the ISP arrived and identified the active lab, the New Albany Fire Department was called to the scene for possible assistance with the volatile lab.

“This lab was unable to be transported to another location due to its instability and was destroyed at the scene,” according to the affidavit.

After the home was deemed safe by ISP, New Albany police located an off-white, pasty substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, a set of digital scales, a glass smoking pipe with burn marks and a straw, both commonly used to ingest methamphetamine. 

Robb told police he had no involvement in the production of the methamphetamine, but was aware that another man was cooking the substance in the home.

“Robb stated he was not a ‘snitch’ and would not tell me who the other male involved was,” according to the affidavit.

After an apparent change of heart, Robb then provided police with the name of a man who he said was responsible for the active methamphetamine lab.

He said the man was at the home hours earlier and had left after “starting the lab,” and that he sometimes sleeps in the living room of the home.

Robb told police that he sleeps in a bedroom of the home, where police found several items used in the manufacturing and ingestion of methamphetamine.

Robb also told police that Berryman does not live at the home, but only comes by occasionally and brings him food.

“Robb also stated that if he were to be drug tested he would fail due to the fact he has ingested methamphetamine and marijuana,” according to the affidavit.

Robb has been charged in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1 with possession of methamphetamine, a class B felony; receiving stolen property and maintaining a common nuisance, both class D felonies; and possession of paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor.

Berryman was charged with visiting a common nuisance, a class B misdemeanor.