Two charged in Coal Township meth bust
SHAMOKIN - Two men accused of cooking methamphetamine in the basement of a Coal Township home were taken into custody late Monday night and arraigned Tuesday on 13 felonies.
Thomas Reddinger, 31, and Roger J. Shaw, 42, both tenants of 1012 W. Spruce St., were jailed at Northumberland County Prison, Sunbury, on $75,000 bail each.
Police said a confidential informant tipped them off after being asked by Reddinger to purchase materials used to cook meth, including cold packs and lighter fluid. The informant, who met Reddinger at 1012 W. Spruce St. Monday, later told police the drug had been manufactured in Reddinger's basement.
A search warrant was obtained and officers from Coal Township, Shamokin and Northumberland County Adult Probation entered Reddinger's home at about 8:40 p.m. An adult female, identified in the warrant as April Stahl, and children ages 8, 10, 11 and 13 were on the first floor while Reddinger and Shaw were in the basement.
In July, Reddinger was listed by the Northumberland County Domestic Relations Department during a child support amnesty period as owing $32,464.43. It is unknown if the children at the scene were his.
Northumberland County Children and Youth Services were brought on scene to help with the children. The home was evacuated and the 1000 block of West Spruce Street was closed to traffic.
Crowd watches de-con
By 10:30 p.m., a crowd had formed at the intersection of Spruce and Maple streets to watch while Reddinger and Shaw were stripped to their underwear and sent inside a mobile decontamination shower where they disrobed completely.
Two members of the Northumberland County Department of Public Safety, adorned in hazmat suits, scrubbed the men with a brush in the makeshift shower before they were re-clothed in white paper suits. Their clothing was bagged and removed from the scene by authorities.
The public safety workers were seen using Dawn dish detergent as part of the scrubdown.
While he was led to a police car, Reddinger puffed on a cigarette with his wrists handcuffed behind his back.
Michael Bogus watched from his porch at 1003 W. Spruce St. He said he had never met the occupants of 1012 W. Spruce St. and didn't want to.
"They are a bad influence," said Bogus. "It's surprising. We never had this before."
A chemical testing station was set up in front of the house, where a firefighter stood by prepared to extinguish an explosion.
A white plastic baggie containing a white powder tested positive for meth, police said. A state police clandestine lab response team also recovered pseudoephedrine, lithium and ammonium nitrate, as well as pills, an AT&T cell phone and empty blister packs from a package of nasal decongestant. Police also confiscated coffee filters, cool packs and a container of Ronsonol lighter fluid from the scene.
Reddinger and Shaw are charged with possession of liquid ammonia gas, methamphetamine production, operating a methamphetamine laboratory, four counts of manufacturing with children under the age of 18 in the home, four counts of causing or risking a catastrophe, criminal conspiracy to produce methamphetamine and manufacture with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
They were arraigned separately via video conference by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III.
"How am I getting charged with this when Tom admitted it was all his?" Shaw asked during his arraignment. The police affidavit alleges Reddinger confessed to cooking the meth, while Shaw allegedly admitted to buying pseudoephedrine and giving it to Reddinger to cook.
"All I know is that they charged you," Gembic told Shaw. "I can't tell you why or how. Probably because you were there."
"Yeah, it's my house; I'm gonna be there," Shaw said.
Reddinger offered no comment during his arraignment.
Charges against Reddinger were filed by Coal Township Cpl. Joshua Wynn and Shamokin Cpl. Bryan Primerano. Township detective Jeffrey Brennan and city Cpl. Jarrod Scandle are the arresting officers in Shaw's case.
Reddinger and Shaw are scheduled to appear Tuesday before Gembic for a preliminary hearing.