Five arrested in suspected drug ring

On Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, the Sweetwater Police Department led a search along with the Nolan County Sheriff's Office, 32nd Judicial District Attorney's Office investigators and the Department of Public Safety at 209 E. Avenue B, after obtaining a search warrant.According to Sweetwater Chief of Police Jim Kelley, several people were allegedly operating a methamphetamine lab in the house and selling the controlled substance from that location.According to Kelley, a liquid substance was found, along with an unknown amount of other unknown substances that have been sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory for testing a measuring. "The crime lab will analyze the substances to determine what the substances are and the weight of the substances," stated Kelley.In addition to the substances, Kelley stated that many stolen items were recovered as a result of the search — many items taken from inside Sweetwater city limits, as well as items taken from outside the city limits in Nolan County."Today we are going to continue sifting through everything and processing items taken from the scene. It is always a good thing to inconvenience these dopers and crooks. Dopers here and everywhere are tied to many different crimes including robbery and theft. They take anything that is not bolted down, even breaking car windows to take merchandise to trade for drugs."Arrested in Friday's search were Rhonda Irvin, 47; Rita Chase, 56; Victor Fields, 28; Maria Wood, 17; and Michael Ledbetter, 41. All were charged with engaging organized criminal activity.