Store clerk helps bust meth ‘shoppers’

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By Alice Du Pont

An alert V-Stop convenience store clerk in Douglas City notified authorities after two men, 42-year-old Robert Harrison and 39-year-old Jeffery Griffin, came to his store every month and bought all of the iodine. The liquid is one of the main components in making methamphetamine.

"We're lucky because we don't have that (methamphetamine use) problem but they're coming here to buy supplies. They're buying pseudoephedrine tablets and anything that contains sinus and cold medicine," said Lt. Jim Corder of the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office Vice and Narcotics Unit.

Griffin and Harrison are both being held in the Gadsden County Jail without bond because of prior related charges. Both are charged with buying precursor chemicals. Harrison, who lives in Jackson County, was on probation in Gadsden County after he pleaded guilty of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. When arrested, he was on drug offender probation. Griffin is on parole in Georgia for manufacturing methamphetamine.

A majority of the people coming to Gadsden County to buy drug manufacturing supplies are from Jackson, Liberty, Jefferson and Leon counties in Florida and Decatur and Grady counties in Georgia, Corder said.

He added that the federal government has helped law enforcement by making it mandatory for store personnel to get the name, address and telephone number from anyone buying over-the-counter drugs.

"You are only allowed to have a certain amount of some over the counter cold medicines," he said. "This is going to be the crack (cocaine) of the 2000s."