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York Co. drug agents bust meth lab at Rock Hill motel

Two people who York County drug agents say had been cooking meth in hotel rooms across the county were arrested at a Rock Hill inn Thursday.

Robert Catoe, 37, and Heather Latham, 24, will be charged with manufacturing meth at the Hillside Inn on North Anderson Road, said Marvin Brown, York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit leader. Additional charges include manufacturing meth within a half-mile of a school and possession with intent to distribute.

They were booked at Moss Justice Center, with a $70,620 bond for Catoe and $93,620 for Latham.

Brown said drug officials had received a tip about a potential meth lab and had been watching the inn. They evacuated the hotel about 5:30 p.m.

“This wasn’t luck,” Brown said. “While conducting surveillance, we got information they were cooking meth in various hotel rooms around the county.”

One of the suspects, Catoe, had been on their radar for some time, he said.

“We’ve been keeping an eye on him,” he said. “Today, we just stuck with him until we found him and stopped this.”

Drug agents were joined by county emergency officials, Lesslie firefighters, and a clean-up crew from Columbia during and after the investigation.

Meth labs, particularly those in public places, have been a concern for authorities, Brown said.

“Meth labs are so mobile now you can put in the trunk of a car, cook in the woods or in a hotel room,” he said.

This is the unit’s second meth lab bust of 2012.

The first was in February, when Carl Eugene Campbell, 38, and Gwendolyn Denise Strikey, 39, both of York, were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance and exposing a child to the manufacturing of methamphetamine, along with state drug law violations, according to police documents.

A 16-year-old boy was inside the home with Campbell and Strikey .

There were six meth lab busts in 2010 and 10 in 2011. Three of the meth labs in 2011 exploded.

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