Jeremy B. Swango, 37, of Bloomfield, was arrested Wednesday on a warrant for dealing methamphetamine, a class B felony, attempt to commit bribery, a class C felony, possession of methamphetamine, a class D felony, and neglect of a dependant, a class D felony.
Monday, The Greene County Sheriff’s Department was informed that a meth lab had caught fire in Swango’s basement and that Swango had been injured. They were also told that Swango’s son was in the residence when it caught fire, and that Swango was trying to persuade another person to purchase pseudoephedrine pills for him.
Detective George Dallaire went to Swango’s residence with Deputy Davis Aerne, Detective James O’Malley, and Bloomfield Town Marshal Kenny Tharp.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Swango had burns on his legs and feet, and possibly his arms. Swango claimed he had been burned in a grease fire in his kitchen earlier that morning.
Dallaire asked for permission to look at Swango’s basement and Swango invited him in. Dallaire noticed fire extinguisher residue all over the kitchen, and could not find signs of a meth lab or a fire in the basement.
However, Dallaire spotted a plastic trash bag on the kitchen floor that contained a fire extinguisher and a burnt plastic bottle. Plastic bottles are commonly used to manufacture meth.
Swango denied manufacturing meth. He allegedly claimed that he had asked someone else to buy pseudoephedrine pills for him in Bloomington because they were cheaper there, although he admitted to having drug paraphernalia, possibly including hypodermic needles, in his residence.
He would not allow the officers to search his home.
Swango’s juvenile son was home when the officers arrived, and he was taken to his uncle’s house to be interviewed by Dallaire.
The juvenile stated that his father had started the fire in the kitchen while trying to fix a batch of methamphetamine, which his father had been working on for about three days. He added that his father kept everything he needed to make meth in a backpack, which he ran outside with when the police approached their house.
When Dallaire went back to speak with Swango, Swango allegedly admitted to learning to make methamphetamine a short time ago from watching You Tube and talking to a guy he was in jail with.
Swango said he took a backpack containing acid, batteries, and tubing used to manufacture meth from his home when the authorities arrived, and admitted that he would have tried to run and get rid of it if he had enough time.
According to the probable cause, Swango went on to say that the fire in his kitchen was caused by trying to fix a batch of meth that did not turn out properly. He said that when he showed the meth to other people they told him to put it in a pot of water and heat it up, so Swango followed their advice by placing a plastic bottle filled with pill dough and Coleman fuel in a pan of water on the stove and heating it.
Swango first claimed that he then fell asleep and the fire started while he was sleeping. Later, he told Dallaire he was distracted by someone visiting his home.
Swango said his son was sleeping when the fire started, and that he realized his son could have been injured or killed in the fire.
According to Dallaire, the combination of Coleman fuel, Lithium battery strips, and water could have caused a severe fire capable of burning down the residence and hurting or killing all of its occupants. There was also a substantial health risk to all of the neighbors.
Swango then admitted to asking someone to buy pseudoephedrine pills for him so he could use them to make meth. He said he has trouble finding people to buy pills for him because they don’t trust him. He also stated that he started making meth because he could not get Xanax or marijuana due to people distrusting him.
Swango allegedly asked Dallaire to destroy his backpack, and said he would do anything Dallaire wanted if he would. He then indicated that he knew people in Indianapolis who would also do anything for Dallaire if he destroyed the evidence.
Dallaire then asked Swango to show him the backpack, and Swango took him outdoors to the place he had hidden it.
Dallaire requested and obtained a search warrant, and ISP Clandestine Lab Team members Jon Patrick and Kent Rohlfing arrived to help serve it.
The backpack contained plastic tubing, a can of Coleman camp fuel, a plastic bottle of Kleen-Out lye, two hypodermic needles, a smoking pipe, a plastic funnel, a plastic measuring spoon, a metal strainer on a handle, Lithium batteries, pliers, tubing cutters, Lithium battery cases with the Lithium strips removed, an Equate cold pack, and one empty cold pack box for pseudoephedrine pills.
The ISP Clandestine Lab Team collected a sample of white residue from the plastic bottle in the trash bag in Swango’s kitchen, and also took a sample of white residue from a coffee filter that was in the bag. This residue field-tested positive for methamphetamine.
The ISP team also found two HCL generators and a bottle of Muriatic acid, which they will dispose of since they are too hazardous to be collected as evidence.
Dallaire stated that all of the above items are consistent with the manufacturing of meth, and also with what Swango told the police they would find.
Swango is being held in the Greene County Jail with no bond. His pretrial conference is set for 8:30 a.m. on December 18th.