News 12 at 11:00, July 13, 2007
BEECH ISLAND, SC--A Beech Island man is in jail, charged with making methamphetamine. Aiken county investigators arrested 42 year old James McRae for making the drug in his home.
The Sheriff's Department says they've been investigating McRae for years, but the news comes as a shock to his family. News 12 sits down exclusively with McRae's 89 year old grandmother.
Mable McRae says she's never seen her grandson get into any kind of serious trouble. That's why she was shocked when the sirens woke her up. Around 10:00, Mable McRae sees a firetruck pull into the house next door. At first, she thinks her son's home is up in flames. But then, she says this happened: "I go out on the porch to see what i can see, and there's a bunch of cops. I thought 'cops are out there, there wouldn't be that many cops out there. Something else is going on.'"
Lt. Michael frank says Mable's grandson was getting ready to make meth.
"When our investigators knocked on the door, the door slowly opened. And they immediately were overwhelmed with the smell of chemicals used to make methamphetamine." Lt. Frank said.
He says James McRae was extracting ephedrine from cold medicine when investigators showed up at his house: "Mr. McRae answered the door, he pulled back a curtain, to allow our investigators to see the equipment he used to make the drug."
Lt. Frank says for several years, they've suspected McRae has been involved in some type of drug activity. And when they found his equipment, they were finally able to make the arrest. That is when Mable got the shocking news: that the firetrucks weren't there to fight flames. They were there to fight a meth lab.
"It just knocked me for a loop. I just couldn't believe that he'd do something like that." Mable said.
She says her son was on vacation at the time, and she called him immediately to let him know what was going on at his house.
The Aiken County sheriff's department is working with SLED and the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, and they're currently trying to figure out if anyone else was involved.
James McRae is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. This is Aiken County's third meth bust this year.