angie.thompson@gaflnews.com



TIFTON -- Seven people were charged with manufacturing methamphetamine after drug enforcement agents received a tip from someone who smelled a chemical odor outside one of the rooms at Tifton's Family Values Inn.

Tift County Sheriff's Deputy Rocky Carter made the first arrest shortly after 10:30 p.m. All of the defendants were booked into the Tift County Jail by mid-afternoon.

TCSO Drug enforcement agents continued to collect evidence from Room 144 and a van parked in the parking lot until late Wednesday.

Tanks of what is believed to be anhydrous ammonia were found in the van as well as other items commonly used to manufacture the drug. Bags of materials collected from the hotel room were sitting on the sidewalk near the room. Weapons and ammunition were also confiscated.

Bruce Willis, Tift County Sheriff Gary Vowell's chief deputy, said the mixing of the chemicals to make the illegal drug poses a danger.

"It is very dangerous," Willis said. "It is a wonder that some of these people haven't blown themselves up."

Willis said methamphetamine labs are mobile and simple to assemble.

A hazardous materials team from Macon's Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) cleaned the room of the chemicals. Agents with the Albany/Dougherty DEU assisted local agents with the collection of evidence.

Nicholas Bombardier, 33, Rt. 1, Box 154, Enigma, Kelly Labigang, 17, Rt. 1, Box 6000, Alapaha, John S. Crapse, 39, Rt. 1, Box 2890, Alapaha, Mack A. Bryant, 22, San Ridge Ave., Ocilla, Jody G. Manning, 32, 301 Samuel St., Ray City and Keith H. Manning, 44, 104 North St., Ray City are all charged with manufacturing methamphetamine.

Labigang and Jody G. Manning have also been charged with possession of the drug. Agents found Labigang in possession of a Pepsi can containing the drug and Manning is said to have had an amount of the drug in her purse.

Gary L. Manning, 42, 301 Samuel St., Ray City, was wanted by Lowndes County on an outstanding probation violation warrant. Authorities said he has not yet been charged in Tift County. According to Carter, the probation violation stemmed from an habitual violator conviction.

Additional charges may be forthcoming as the investigation continues.



To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.



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