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Owen Co. man found guilty of cooking meth

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By Molly Haines

An Owen County man is expected to be sentenced in Owen County Circuit Court next month after he was found guilty of multiple drug charges May 1.
James R. Thomas, 53, was found guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine; possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine; possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of marijuana; and first-degree persistent felony offender.
According to court documents, Thomas was ordered to vacate the home he shared with his wife Brenda Thomas at 1675 Hwy. 35 on April 20 by Owen County District Court Judge Thomas Funk.
The order came after a domestic violence order was entered.
According to the documents, Brenda Thomas was to live at the home located on Hwy. 35.
After vacating the home, James Thomas was called back to the house by Owen County Sheriff Zemer Hammond to unlock a barn where a lawnmower and Brenda Thomas’ motorcycle were stored.
While traveling through the area, Kentucky State Police Trooper David Roberts saw Hammond at the property and stopped to see if he needed assistance.
Roberts walked to the barn with James Thomas and Hammond. After unlocking the barn, James Thomas once again left the property.
While walking back from the barn, Roberts saw three 55 gallon barrels sitting on concrete blocks. The barrels appeared to be used as burn barrels.
As Roberts approached the barrels, he saw what he thought to be burnt lithium batteries and castings in one of them, which are often associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine.
After getting consent from Brenda Thomas to search the house, Roberts found marijuana, several glass smoking pipes containing what appeared to be methamphetamine residue and a bong smoking device containing what appeared to be marijuana.
Roberts then interviewed Brenda Thomas’ son Joshua Alexander, who told Roberts he had been living in the house with James and Brenda Thomas for a couple of months and that James Thomas used methamphetamine in the house.
Two days earlier, Alexander said he saw James Thomas go to the garage with shopping bags.
James Thomas allegedly returned to the house several hours later with four to five grams of finished methamphetamine.
A search warrant was then issued for the search of the garage and other outbuildings located on the Hwy. 35 property. In the garage, Roberts found numerous guns, chemicals and equipment for use in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
James Thomas’ sentencing is set for June 11.