Meth Lab Bust in Panama City

The Panama City Police Department announces the arrest of six persons following an investigation into the manufacturing of Methamphetamine. Investigators with the Panama City Police Department, Special Operations Unit, received a tip of suspicious activity and possible drug use at a residence located at 2404 W. 14th Street in Panama City. Investigators made contact with the residents on August 14, 2012 at approximately 4:45 pm and noted a strong chemical smell consistent with an active lab.

Six occupants were located inside the residence and an active so-called “shake and bake” lab was discovered inside. The area around the home was secured and the Panama City Fire Department was called to the scene for safety due to the danger of fire.

Special Investigators trained in the removal of methamphetamine labs were able to neutralize the active lab and located several older labs that were discarded on the property in an out building. Investigators worked through the evening cleaning up the hazardous lab debris, paraphernalia, and collecting evidence.

With information and evidence collected during the investigation the following persons were charged: Frank C. Destefano, 30 years of age, was arrested for trafficking in methamphetamine and manufacturing drug paraphernalia.

Brandi L. Destefano, 44 years of age, Brittney B. Middleton, 21 years of age, James D. McCutcheon, 33 years of age, Joseph C. Kelly, 32 years of age, were all charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Austin I. Whitmire, 22 years of age, was charged with violation of probation for a previous methamphetamine charge.

Brandi Destefano received a notice to appear, the others were booked into the Bay County Jail for the aforementioned charges. Frank and Brandi Destefano reside at the address where the labs
were discovered; the others reside at different locations.

The Panama City Police Department would like to remind citizens that the chemicals and compounds used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine are toxic and can be explosive.

If you have any information in reference to this case please call the Panama City Police Department at 850-872-3112. You can also report your tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 850-785-TIPS.

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