Raids on two meth labs lead to arrests

A Marietta mother and her companion are charged with child endangerment in addition to counts related to manufacturing methamphetamine after a raid Thursday evening by the Major Crimes Task Force.

Ashley Cochran’s 8-year-old child was discovered in the 115 Ohio Blvd. residence she shares with John Estes when task force agents executed a search warrant there around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, according to an affidavit of facts provided by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Washington County Children Services was contacted and the child was placed with a relative, Sheriff Larry Mincks said.

The chemicals used in the making of meth can be both poisonous and combustible.

Cochran, 30, and Estes, 26, were each charged with a first-degree felony count of manufacturing methamphetamine within the vicinity of a juvenile, a second-degree felony count of assembly of chemicals used in the manufacture of meth and a third-degree felony count of endangering children.

Around the same time, Ashley “Josh” O’Brien, 29, of 300 Arends Ridge Road, Marietta, was arrested on a second-degree felony count of manufacturing methamphetamine and a third-degree felony count of assembly of chemicals following the execution of a search warrant at his residence. Mincks said the two incidents were related.

“They knew each other and were all involved,” he said.

Mincks said the trio had been under investigation for a couple of months. Factors included reports from neighbors and information from informants.

“There were a number of indicators that tipped us off,” he said.

At Cochran and Estes’ residence, the affidavit says, agents recovered Coleman fuel, instant cold packs, solvents, salt, lithium, empty blister packets and other chemicals, along with a reaction vessel and an acid generator, all items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. A check of pseudoephedrine sales logs showed Estes purchased five boxes of medication containing that ingredient, which is used in the making of meth, from October to December. Cochran bought four during that time.

Agents recovered Coleman fuel, solvents, salt and multiple reaction vessels and acid generators at O’Brien’s residence, along with a white powder that a field test indicated was meth, according to that affidavit of facts for that arrest. Pseudoephedrine logs showed O’Brien made six purchases of the substance from July to December.

All three suspects remain in custody at the Washington County Jail. Cochran’s bond was set at $85,000, while O’Brien’s was $45,000. Estes’ will be set Monday because he was not able to appear for arraignment Friday, a jail official said.