County’s first active meth lab in years exposed toddler to chemicals, sheriff says

Linda Chenoa Trigg, left, Brett Anthony Barbetta, center, and Stephen Lee Fairley
Linda Chenoa Trigg, left, Brett Anthony Barbetta, center, and Stephen Lee Fairley

The arrests of three people found operating a meth lab in a Bay St. Louis home is disturbing on several levels, Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam said.

It’s the first active meth lab narcotics officers have found in the county in several years.

And the meth was being made in the presence of a 17-year-old girl and her 1-year-old child, Adam said.

Arrested Wednesday in a search of a home on Mole Drive were Stephen Lee Fairley, 43; Brett Anthony Barbetta, 28; and Linda Chenoa Trigg, 33.

Paramedics treated the toddler at the scene for possible hazardous chemical exposure from the manufacturing of meth and took her to Hancock Medical Center, Adam said. The child was released to Mississippi Child Protective Services and the adults were taken to jail, he said.

“If the baby’s tests come back positive for meth exposure, we will charge all of them and the mother with child neglect,” Adam said.

Trigg is the teen’s mother and the child’s grandmother, he said.

Adam said the arrests followed a long investigation that included undercover drug buys.

Agents with the sheriff’s narcotics unit said they seized meth, oxycodone pills and marijuana during Wednesday’s search.

Old packages of pseudoephedrine were found in the home, which is also surprising, the sheriff said.

“We have no idea where they got the packages,” Adam said.

State lawmakers banned the sale of pseudoephedrine without a prescription in 2010 to cut down on meth-making. The drug, a decongestant, is one of the key ingredients in meth.

“We have a situation where adults knowingly place children in life-threatening danger just to accommodate their drug habits,” Adam said.

Fairley, Barbetta and Trigg were all arrested on one count each of manufacturing a controlled substance, generation of hazardous waste, possession of meth precursors and possession with intent to distribute. Fairley faces as additional charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Bonds have been set at $175,000 for Fairley and $150,000 each for Barbetta and Trigg. They were being held at the Hancock County jail.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews