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Both Suspects in Meth Lab Fire Now In Custody

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 288

Bond has been set for the last of two people charged so far in connection with a fire last week that investigators believe was caused by the making of methamphetamine.

27-year-old Richard Garza made his first appearance in Knox County Circuit Court this afternoon via video conference — about a day after he turned himself in on a Class-X felony charge of Aggravated Participation in Methamphetamine Manufacturing.

Prosecutors say Garza allegedly helped 46-year-old Michelle Esp make methamphetamine in a home on the 800 block of South Kellogg Street last Thursday. They say Garza was shaking a bottle that had meth ingredients in it, and it caused an explosion.

Garza reportedly told investigators he had nothing to do with the making of the meth, but rather simply went to the home to purchase the meth.

Judge Stephen Mathers set bond at $75-thousand in the case, lower than what was requested. He’ll be back in court tomorrow morning to formally request a public defender.

Esp, meanwhile, was in court yesterday, where a preliminary hearing date was set for Monday on charges of Unlawful Participation in Meth Production, and Possession of Meth-

Manufacturing Chemicals. A judge will then also take up a request to lower Esp’s $100-thousand bond.