Meth bust in Augusta neighborhood raises community concerns

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News 12 at 6 o'clock/Saturday April 12, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)--It was a normal Saturday morning for Gregory Barlow, who's been attending Kingdom Life Fellowship Ministries for more than 10 years.

"We came over to do Easter rehearsal for the kids here at the church and when we turned the corner this morning, the cop cars were down the street," said Barlow.

Richmond county deputies, narcotics officers, the fire department and a hazmat team responded to a duplex on Heckle Street this afternoon for a meth bust.

"It's a good quantity of manufactured substance. We have three people in custody. Two males and a female," said Lt. Mark Lovering with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Mitchell Perry Pelham,47, 42-year-old James Ted Tedder and 63-year-old Nancy Susan Wood now face meth manufacturing and trafficking charges.

Barlow tells me he's shocked this was going on in the neighborhood he serves.

"It's actually scary because we have the church here, we have the kids that come out and play in the area," he explained. "We do ministry in the area and you walk and go into people's houses and you don't know what you're running in to."

He says in the years he's been with Kingdom Life, the congregation's only dealt with minor incidents.

"[It's] pretty quiet area normally," he said. "Out of 12 years, one or two break ins...I consider that pretty good."

With three people now behind bars, Barlow says he's hoping this will be the last time he sees deputies on this street.

"That's what it's all about, being safe. The area you're in, you want it safe," he said. "So I'm glad they got it done and they got it done quickly and they found out what's going on."

The lead narcotics investigator tells 12 they recovered about an ounce of meth, which is considered a lot.

The investigator says normally home cooks only produce 2 to 5 grams of meth.

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