A real life “Breaking Bad” right in our backyard.
A retired chemist believed to be mixing up drugs in his suburban Effingham County home, and he’s accused of targeting local teens.
Effingham County Sheriff’s, Rincon Police and the DNR all combined to arrest a total of 10 people, including the manufacturer and his drug distribution team.
“We found about 50 pounds of the finished product and the materials to make another 50,” said Detective Steve Blunt of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department.
“The chemicals he was making them with he got from China. He was just spraying them on different herbs and mediums. drying it out and selling it.”
“We had never heard of this guy,(Showalter) and when you see the picture of him, very unassuming.” explained Blunt. “Quiet home, quiet neighborhood we rode by you never would have looked twice. Turned out he was manufacturing in his house.”
“We also found when we got there he was labellling and bottling himself and selling it on the internet,” said Detective Blunt.
“He had a network of younger individuals he would distribute to,” said Blunt. “They would give them to people even younger. One of the people we arrested was 17, his girlfriend was 16.”
“We always heard rumor of a kiddie pool and a pitchfork,” said Detective Donald Wood of Rincon Police. “That’s pretty much what we found out there.”
“We found boxes of empty vials labelled “BAM”,” explained Wood. “Just boxes and boxes of it. he would load those up, sell them as samples on the internet, Once you get hooked they’ll come back for more from you, more and more money.”
“Hes just haphazardly putting whatever chemicals he felt like he wanted to put in it at the time and you had no idea what he you were consuming,” said Blunt. “But it was giving them the high they were looking for.”
“The stories we were hearing were that the person would smoke it, they’d get high, they’d pass out, 30 minutes later they’d wake up, they’d vomit and after vomiting they’d want more,” said Detective Wood.
“We knew we needed to put a stop to this quickly because it was going to kill somebody.”
Investigators also seized guns, several classic cars.. and more than $25,000 in cash
10 people were arrested ranging from 17 years old to 64, Showalter himself.
Investigators say they know the former chemist sold to people in at least 15 different states, possibly for as long as 2 years.
All subjects are charged with various crimes including possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, manufacturing a controlled substance, firearms violations, and sales of controlled substance.
Several subjects are currently on probation for drug related offenses.
All subjects are currently at the Effingham County Jail awaiting bond hearings.
The investigation is ongoing and future arrests are expected in the near future.