published Saturday, August 31st, 2013

Police: Meth lab found at home of middle school counselor in Franklin County

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A Franklin County, Tenn., middle school counselor, ex-wife of a sergeant in the sheriff's office, has been suspended with pay amid allegations that she kept a methamphetamine lab in her garage.

Franklin County Sheriff's Office investigators stopped Susan and Clint Meeks as the two were driving on the afternoon of Aug. 16. Police found methamphetamine in the car, according to a news release. This led to a search of the Meekses' home at 23 Hope Circle in Estill Springs. And this led to the discovery of what Sheriff Tim Fuller called a drug manufacturing lab.

"Your typical shake-and-bake labs," Fuller said. "One-bottle method."

The Meekses were not arrested or charged with a crime, Fuller said, but the district attorney's office will seek a grand jury indictment in November.

In the meantime, Franklin County Director of Schools Rebecca Sharber has suspended Susan Meeks, the counselor at South Middle School. Also, Fuller said, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services has awarded custody of Meeks' 9- and 12-year-old children to her ex-husband, Sgt. Chris Guess.

Guess oversees the training at the sheriff's office and is also the department's public information officer. Guess also is the chairman of the Franklin County Board of Education.

Guess said he had nothing to do with Meeks' suspension. That decision was entirely Sharber's. Sharber was out of town Friday and could not comment.

Fuller said Guess did not tell the sheriff's office that his ex-wife was cooking methamphetamine. The tip apparently came from someone else.

"They've been divorced and separated for at least two years, maybe two and a half," Fuller said. "It sort of comes down to the company you keep. ... When you see the person going from someone that's never been in trouble in their life -- that's in law enforcement -- to someone that's in your jail, it's like, 'Hey, what's going on?' Chris didn't have to say much of anything. It's quite apparent something's going on here."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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