Alabama Police Respond to Domestic Violence Call, Find Meth Lab

drug bundles found in spare tireDomestic violence is a far too common, too widespread problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four women and one in seven men over the age of 18 will experience physical violence at least once in their lifetime. What’s more, domestic violence constituted 16% of overall violent offenses reported in 2013, according to statistics compiled by the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center. That year, domestic violence was reported 3,186 times, including 24 homicides, 218 rapes, 72 robberies and 2,872 aggravated assaults.

More recently, a domestic violence call led authorities to find something much, much worse.

At the end of June, Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at a home to investigate a report that a man had assaulted his girlfriend. When they arrived, a 31-year-old woman told the officers her boyfriend had hit her in the face several times, and then threw her onto the floor.

As they were talking to the victim and the suspect, 31-year-old Johnnie Thomas McCormick, the officers discovered an active meth lab inside the home.

Though the incident may seem like a rare occurrence, Alabama’s meth problem is getting worse. According to data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the number of meth lab seizure incidents in the Heart of Dixie increased 199%, from 204 incidents in 2007 to 610 incidents in 2009. Approximately 7% of Alabama residents reported past-month use of illicit drugs.

That same week, Morgan County Drug Task Force recovered nine discarded meth labs, four of which were floating in the creek.

“These items are highly hazardous to the environment and are extremely hazardous to people who accidentally come into contact with chemicals associated with the manufacturing of methamphetamine,” said Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin. “We ask that citizens of the county who observe trash that appears suspicious in nature not to handle trash. The risk of exposure is great and could be deadly. Contact your local law enforcement agency and report it.”

Following the incident, narcotics investigators with the sheriff’s department took McCormick’s meth lab apart.

McCormick was charged with manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and domestic violence.

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