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SATURDAY, JANUARY 8, 2005
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Agents bust Marshall meth lab

By Abby Foster
DAILY Staff Writer

afoster@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

Drug officers arrested James Eric Gatlin, on drug charges when they raided Johnathan Wood's Marshall County residence on U.S. 231, busting up a methamphetamine lab Friday morning.

Agents found Gatlin, his wife, Juana Battista Smith Gatlin, 20, Joshua Woods and Summer Pritchard in the mobile home manufacturing meth, according to the Morgan County Drug Task Force.

Agents said they found a quantity of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the clandestine lab. They arrested all four suspects.

A grand jury indicted Gatlin last year on felony drug charges after agents found a meth lab at his residence on Cedar Cove Road in Hartselle. Officers received warrants for these charges earlier this week and learned Monday that Gatlin had a Decatur apartment. He fled when agents arrived at the apartment, but they did arrest his wife, Juana Gatlin, and her brother, Anthony May, on outstanding felony warrants from Blount County, the task force reported.

On Tuesday, the investigation led officers to the home of Timothy Darrell Hollaway, where they missed Gatlin again, but did seize methamphetamine, marijuana and meth lab equipment, according to the task force.

Evidence showed officers that Gatlin had been at Hollaway's home hours before the raid, they said.

Gatlin, 38, of 155 Atkins Drive in Priceville, is charged with unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance. He remains in Morgan County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond. Juana Battista Smith Gatlin, 21, same address, faces charges of 10 counts of issuing worthless checks, two counts of possessing a forged instrument, second-degree robbery, first-degree theft of property and theft by deception. She remains in Morgan County Jail in lieu of $3,000 bond.

The Morgan County Drug Task Force cooperated with Morgan and Marshall County deputies, investigators with the Morgan County Criminal Investigation Division and the Alabama Beverage Control Drug Unit in the arrests.

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