A methamphetamine (meth) lab on SR 24 in Cedar Key was discovered and shut down on July 11, 2012 after neighbors reported a foul smell emanating from an upstairs apartment.
Officer Robbie Whitman responded to the early morning call, notified Police Chief Virgil Sandlin and the Levy County Drug Task Force, who arrived on the scene.
The officers attempted to make a well-being search but one occupant tried to flee through the back door and was apprehended, along with the three other occupants. After letting the apartment air out, the property was searched and they found the makings of methamphetamine.
Sandlin explained that, fortunately for the neighbors and property owner, the "Shake and Bake" process that was being used does not cause the environmental contamination associated with other forms of meth production.
The suspects unsuccessfully attempted to dispose of some of their "product" down the toilet and officers also seized their "Shake and Bake" supplies... including Gatorade bottles.
Charged were Sherry Lee Coley (who rented the apartment, was evicted and is now living rent free in the Levy County Jail); Deana Michelle Esslinger; Ronald "Gino" Duke; and Robert Ray "Bobby" Mann. All four were charged with a variety of felony drug charges and if convicted, could carry a minimum 15-year jail sentence.
Sherry Lee Coley
Ronald "Gino" Duke
Deana Michelle Esslinger
Robert Ray "Bobby" Mann