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Sunday, April 1, 2012

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Officers with the Lexington County Multi-Agency Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) on Thursday, March 29 seized a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory at a home on Pine Grove Road near Leesville and arrested a 34-year-old Leesville man on charges that the man operated the methamphetamine laboratory at the residence.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said NET officers arrested John Robert Bittle, 34, of 544 Pine Grove Road, Leesville, on arrest warrants on charges of second-offense manufacturing methamphetamine and third-offense possessing methamphetamine. Bittle was being held on Saturday, March 31 at the Lexington County Detention Center on bail totaling $75,000.

Arrest warrants allege that NET officers, who were acting on a tip, went to Bittle’s home on Thursday and found that Bittle possessed chemicals and equipment, including 11 reaction vessels, that had been used to operate a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory, Metts said. Officers found about one gram of methamphetamine on Bittle’s person. The methamphetamine laboratory was operated at an old, run-down mobile home at 524 Pine Grove Road near Leesville that is adjacent to Bittle’s home.

Metts asked anyone with information about illegal drug activity in Lexington County to call the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department at (803) 785-8230 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Citizens also can provide information anonymously by accessing the Crime Tip link on the Sheriff’s Department web site (www.lexingtonsheriff.com).

NET is comprised of officers from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Batesburg-Leesville Police Department, Irmo Police Department, Lexington Police Department and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Metts said. The sheriff and municipal police chiefs implemented NET in 2001 in order to enhance drug enforcement in Lexington County.

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crimestoppers by calling 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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