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Crime Report - Aug. 15, 2017

Homeowners’ call leads to children’s arrest for making meth

Posted: August 14, 2017 5:48 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO)

A call from the owners of a home on Old Georgetown Road West near the town of Kershaw in late April ultimately led to the recent arrest of the owners’ 29-year-old daughter and her 42-year-old boyfriend for running a meth lab out of the home. A KCSO incident report identified those arrested as Amber Lynn Zarko and Timothy Wayne Bennett -- who was also listed as Zarko’s stepbrother.

According to a KCSO incident report, deputies responded to a call from the homeowners on April 23. They called in reference to chemicals and other items used to make meth being found in a bedroom. The homeowners told dispatchers they had already removed the items and placed them on the ground outside until law enforcement could arrive.

Deputies arriving on the scene found two large soft drink bottles, lithium batteries with the lithium removed, cooking fuel, a bottle of a liquid “draino” type fluid, used coffee filters with meth waste, a box of Sudafed and empty blister packs, and a receipt from Rock Hill for the Sudafed.

Zarko and her parents said Bennett worked in Rock Hill, according to the report. Zarko had left the scene and reportedly may have been with his ex-wife somewhere in Lancaster County. Meanwhile, Bennett and Zarko’s two small children were found in the home when deputies arrived on the scene.

Zarko claimed she found a trash bag in the bedroom she shares with Bennett with meth-related items. She also said the cooking fuel and “draino” bottle were in the closet of the bedroom she and Bennett shared. She then went to show this to their parents, which is when they called law enforcement.

During a search of the home, led by Zarko and her parents, deputies found a grocery bag with an Equate cold pack box containing ammonia nitrate pellets and a container of lye. Outside, Zarko allowed deputies to search her car that she said Bennett had recently used. Inside, they found a folded up bandana inside of which were a digital scale, meth pipe and a small white baggie with meth. They also found a small black tin canister with a small baggie of marijuana inside and a small yellow baggie of meth.

Deputies decided not to arrest anyone in April pending further investigation. With assistance from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the KCSO contacted a hazardous materials crew, which cleaned up all the trash and hazardous material.

During their subsequent investigation, deputies learned both Bennett and Zarko had been purchasing “excessive amounts” of Sudafed. So much so, that, according to the report, they had been blocked several times from purchasing too much in a 30-day period. On a few occasions, the investigation turned up, both Zarko and Bennett had purchased or tried to purchase Sudafed at the same time or at the same pharmacy.

In addition, the Department of Social Services (DSS) recently responded to the home in regard to meth being cooked there. Although the children were there at the time, DSS decided neither child was in immediate danger and needed to be removed.

After further investigation, deputies obtained warrants for manufacturing meth for both Bennett and Zarko on July 7, but were unable to serve the warrants until July 30. Lexington County authorities arrested the couple on July 29, allowing them to be transported to the Kershaw County Detention Center.

According to online jail records, both are still being held. A judge set bond at $20,000 for Bennett and $7,500 for Zarko.

The KCSO also reported the following other recent incidents:

After receiving reports over two days that a man was selling narcotics in back of a building at the Kirkwood Town Apartments off Broad Street in Camden, deputies confronted and ultimately arrested Shelley Joshua Salmond, 31, of Campbell Street, Camden, on several narcotics charges. According to a KCSO report, deputies went to the apartments around 2 p.m. July 27. They found Salmond in a car partially parked in a parking space. The reporting deputy said that they knew Salmond from previous arrests, including most recently in mid-June possession of crack cocaine (second offense), possession of Schedule I or II narcotics (second offense), possession of Schedule I-V controlled substance (second or subsequent offense) and simple possession of marijuana (second or subsequent offense) all for which he was out on $32,000 total bond. As they parked next to him and began to approach, the deputies reported that Salmond began acting as though he were looking for a means of escape. They boxed him in, forcing Salmond to park in another space and allow deputies to approach. They reported smelling a strong odor of marijuana coming from the Honda, asked Salmond to exit the vehicle and place him in investigative detention. A search of the vehicle turned up a small amount of crack cocaine and two 8mg pills of buprenorphine, a Schedule III controlled substance. Deputies also found several pieces of smoked marijuana cigarettes. Soon after, deputies told Salmond he was under arrest and he reportedly began resisting. At one point, as agents tried to get him in a patrol vehicle, he stiffened his body to the point where his head hit the door frame. Deputies also obtained a warrant to search an apartment he and his girlfriend had moved into several weeks before. Inside, they found a bag of marijuana; digital scales; identification and bank cards belonging to known drug addicts; a gun box; ammunition clips; and four fake $20 bills. In addition, they found items prepared as prison contraband: several bags of tobacco, a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka, several cell phones and several cell phone chargers. Some of these items were similar to items reportedly seized from Salmond and his girlfriend in June. Deputies charged Salmond on July 27 with a second offense of the manufacture and/or distribution of cocaine base, another second or subsequent offense of possession of Schedule I-V controlled substance and another second or subsequent offense of simple possession of marijuana, for which he posted another $52,000 total bond. According to online court records, deputies arrested Salmond yet again around Aug. 5, charging him with failing to stop for blue lights (second or subsequent offense), driving under suspension and breach of peace, for which he posted another $4,905 total bond.

Deputies charged a 32-year-old Cassatt woman with assaulting a law enforcement officer while resisting arrest and breach of peace following an incident on July 27 at the subject’s home. According to a KCSO report, deputies responded to Tidwell Town Road in reference to the woman allegedly breaking things and causing a disturbance. A man at the scene told deputies his son’s girlfriend was drunk and “showing out.” The man, who was bleeding from his face, said the woman came over, would not leave and then struck him in the face, causing the bleeding. The deputy then spoke with the man’s son, who said his girlfriend was so drunk that he left their neighboring home with their baby to go to his parents’ house. Deputies then went next door to speak to the woman, who had injured herself when she broke one of the doors to that home. She reportedly refused to follow orders to put her hands behind her back and tried to pull away and kick one of the deputies. A brief struggle ensued, but deputies were able to get her into handcuffs. She resisted while being taken to a patrol car so that the deputies had to carry her and force her into the back seat. While deputies were completing paperwork with the victims, the woman managed to get the handcuffs in front of her and tried opened the patrol car’s door. While on the way to the county jail, the woman reportedly banged on the windows and tried again to open the door. The deputy pulled over and pepper sprayed her, after which she complained of not being able to breathe. The deputy took her to the hospital, where she continued to “yell, cuss and even took her shirt off,” according to the report. After being cleared, the deputy walked the woman back out to the patrol car, during which time the woman tried to bit the deputy’s neck. She managed to latch her jaws and teeth into the deputy’s vest. At that point, the deputy took her to the ground, placed her back in the patrol car and took her to jail.

Deputies arrested a 30-year-old Elgin man for first-degree domestic violence on July 28 after he allegedly wrested a shotgun away from his girlfriend, who was trying to keep the firearm away from him, during an argument. Although the shotgun was loaded at the time, the man’s girlfriend said he never pointed it at her or threatened to shoot her. During the argument, the woman’s 8-year-old daughter reportedly tried to intervene, only to be kicked in the forehead. Her mother managed to get the shotgun away from the man long enough to unload two shells out of it. She then distracted the man long enough to give the unloaded shotgun to her daughter who followed her instruction to toss it out a window. The girl then hid the shotgun shells where her mother’s boyfriend couldn’t find them. When the woman refused to give the shotgun back, the man allegedly began trying to destroy the house and tried choking her several times. He allegedly destroyed every room in the house. Meanwhile, the woman managed to get her daughter to sneak out of the house with their cell phones and laptop. Mother and daughter managed to get away safely and met with a deputy at KCSO headquarters. Several deputies then went to a house where they were able to arrest the man. Deputies also recovered the shotgun. A judge set bond at $25,000, which was posted the following day.

Deputies arrested a 36-year-old Elgin man on July 27 on several charges, including grand larceny in connection with an alleged June 20 incident. According to a KCSO report, a man living on Sheffield Drive called in reference to a burglary at the residence back on June 17 where someone took a 36-inch flat screen TV from the home. On July 27, deputies arrested the man for grand larceny, between $2,000 and $10,000; breaking into a motor vehicle; habitual traffic offender; and driving under suspension. He is still being held at the county jail on a total $44,770 bond.

Deputies are also looking for an Elgin man who may have stolen a 48-inch flat screen TV from another Sheffield Drive home back in June. According to a KCSO report, a woman reported that someone took the TV while she was on a business trip between June 10 and June 21. After checking with family members and neighbors, she said she learned the man had claimed the TV was under his grandmother’s house nearby. When a deputy went to that address, they learned the man had run from the house into some nearby woods. The deputy recovered the TV, but it was cracked and “no good anymore,” according to the victim, who allowed it to be taken into evidence. As of Monday, no charges had been filed against the man named in the report.

A deputy arrested a 24-year-old Cheraw man on Aug. 8 after responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle on Chesnut Street East in Bethune. According to a report, an older man driving a truck met with the deputy and took him to where a black Ford Fusion was sitting with a the subject sitting in the driver’s seat going in and out of consciousness. When the deputy ran the tag, dispatch said the car had been stolen. While waiting for confirmation, the deputy asked the man to get out of the vehicle so he could place him in investigative detention. It took four times for the deputy to make the request before the man complied and then he tensed up and tried to pull away from the deputy. The deputy then learned that the car was, indeed, stolen and that the man was wanted out of Chesterfield County for driving under suspension. As of Monday, the man was still listed at the county jail on a $15,000 bond.

Deputies arrested a Camden man on one count each of a second offense of possession with intent to distribute (PWID) crack cocaine and PWID within proximity of a park, playground or school on July 29 in connection with charges stemming from a March 31, 2014, incident. A KCSO report identified the man as 34-year-old Terry Lamar Wise, of Old River Road, Camden. According to the report, a confidential informant working for the KCSO’s narcotics unit made a controlled buy from Wise of two white rock-like substances that filed tested positive for cocaine base. The buy took place one-half mile from Camden high School and the crack cocaine was turned over to narcotics agents and placed into evidence for further testing. Deputies arrested Wise on July 29. According to online jail records, he is still being held on a total of $10,000 bond.

Elgin Police Department (EPD)

Elgin police officers dealt with incidents involving counterfeit money, harassment, no driver’s license, DUI, driving under suspension, liquor law violations, open container, possession of a controlled substance, public disorderly conduct and shoplifting.

Camden Police Department (CPD)

Camden officers recently dealt with incidents involving forgery, possession of meth, third-degree assault, and trespassing.

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