When drug agents swooped in and found 295 grams of liquid meth Tuesday in a house southeast of Rock Hill, it wasn’t the first time narcotics officers had knocked at the door. Or the second time.
Agents had been at 2787 Lesslie Dale Road at least a half-dozen times in the past two years, said Marvin Brown, commander of the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit.
“Several times I went there and knocked on the door and told them there were complaints that there was meth being sold,” Brown said Wednesday.
There were other complaints over the past two years, York County Sheriff’s Office reports show, of alleged drug use at the house, arguments, fights, marijuana and narcotics – and finding the people at the house “grossly intoxicated.”
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On Wednesday, a terrified neighbor with two small daughters returned from an out-of-state trip.
“Drugs?” she asked of the nearby house.
Yes, drugs, she was told. Yes, again.
The woman herded her children inside, locked the door and threw the deadbolt.
The alleged drug house – a modular mobile home in disrepair, with garbage under the porch – is surrounded by meticulously cared-for homes, with neighbors who do not sell drugs.
Richard Dean Bailey Sr., 56, was charged Tuesday with making and distributing meth. He is jailed under $35,000 bond. His son was charged with similar crimes in the same house by the same cops two days before Christmas.
That cold December day, drug agents arrested Richard Dean Bailey Jr., 35, on meth possession and distribution charges.
“He told us he had the meth lab right there in the bathroom,” Brown said, “and that his father had nothing to do with it.”
The soda bottle to make the meth – called a “one-pot” system that mixes enough dangerous chemicals together to blow the roof off any house – sat in the bathroom sink.
“One time, in a different drug house, a one-pot system fell on the floor and burned a hole all the way down to the ground,” Brown said. “Looked like a bazooka was shot. These chemicals are dangerous.”
Junior went to jail and stayed there for months. Two weeks ago, he pleaded guilty to manufacturing and distributing meth and to possession of meth and was sentenced to five years in prison.
But police say the drug-making and drug-dealing continued while Junior was locked up waiting for court and afterward. On Tuesday, after a month-long investigation, drug agents again moved on the house. Inside were three adults and a 1-year-old child.
They found a Mason jar almost full of liquid meth. Enough meth to cause nearby homes to be knocked off their foundations if there had been an explosion.
It is the 13th meth lab busted in York County this year.
In the garbage, agents reported finding the materials – containers, tubes, hoses and pipes – that are commonly used to make meth. The state Department of Social Services whisked the child away to safety, and police arrested the three adults.
Kaeley Ayn Jenkins, 18, the baby’s mother, was charged with exposing a child to meth and unlawful conduct toward a child. She is jailed under $20,000 bond. She was convicted in 2012 of possession of cocaine and received a suspended sentence as a youthful offender.
Benny Edward Sullivan, 39, faces meth trafficking and production felonies. He remains jailed under $35,000 bond.
And then there is Senior.
Despite police coming to the house several times in recent years to ask about meth and saying people had complained, despite Junior being hauled off to jail and eventually prison for making meth in the same house, Senior was charged Tuesday with trafficking meth and making meth.
The main difference between Junior’s arrest in December and Senior’s arrest on Tuesday is how much meth was found Tuesday – 295 grams. That’s enough to to trigger sentences of up to 30 years in prison, upon conviction.
On Wednesday, there was another knock on the door at 2787 Lesslie Dale Road. Marvin Brown, the drug agent, was calling.
This time, nobody was home. Everybody was in jail.