Homemade explosive device found during drug bust in McKenzie

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 29, 2005

A routine search warrant by Butler County sheriff's deputies turned into an explosive situation on Wednesday.

The deputies performed a search at 26 North Street in McKenzie for suspicion of the manufacturing and distribution of crystal methamphetamines. During the search, deputies found an improvised explosive device within Roger Armstrong's bedroom, according to chief investigator Mike Holmes Sr.

The device was a number of shotgun shells taped together with electrical tape. Beside the shells were electrical devices used as detonators.

After finding the devices, the house was evacuated until the Alabama Bureau of Investigation's explosives ordinance disposal unit arrived to clear the house.

Armstrong, 42, and his wife Kathy, 42, were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. Holmes said it would be up to the ABI or the ATF if it wanted to press charges in regards to the explosive devices found within Armstrong's home.

This is the second meth arrest Butler County Sheriff's deputies have made this month.

The previous case involved Armstrong's niece Jessica Ann Bush, who was also arrested on the same charges in McKenzie.

Wednesday's arrests marked the fourth this year in Butler County.

"You are seeing meth trickle into Butler County from other counties like Covington and Crenshaw counties," Holmes said. "The dealers are nomadic. So, if they are getting heat in one place, they'll move."

In addition to the improvised explosive and electrical devices, Butler County deputies confiscated less than a gram of finished crystal meth, drug paraphernalia such as digital scales, one rifle and two handguns.

Roger Armstrong was not at home at the time the search warrant was executed, but he was later taken into custody just before 7 p.m. when he pulled into his driveway.

About two hours later, a vehicle of four juveniles pulled into Armstrong's drive way looking for him so they could "score," Holmes said.

"We were in unmarked vehicles, it was dark, so they had no idea who we were," he said. "We got them out of the car and shook them down, but we didn't arrest them."

One juvenile was a 16-year-old girl, a 17-year-old girl and two 17-year-old boys.