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It was a typical neighborhood in The Villages with nicely kept homes and manicured lawns. But at one house on Livingston Loop, the lifestyle was anything but that of the typical retiree, according to sheriff’s investigators.
Inside the garage, unbeknownst to the woman who lived there, an acquaintance was manufacturing methamphetamine, according to sheriff’s Lt. Bobby Caruthers.
While it’s unclear if the main occupant of the house, a 61-year-old woman, is the owner or a renter of the residence, police say they do know that the man she befriended to help with odd jobs around the place was operating a “one-pot meth lab” on the premises. (The term refers to a small operation set up to produce the drug.)
“The woman living there had no idea that this was going on,” said Caruthers.
But on Wednesday, Feb. 6, during early morning hours, the lab was discovered by sheriff’s deputies and Robert Huot, 34, and his live-in girlfriend Ashleah Hyder, 26, were arrested on drug charges.
The woman met Huot when he helped her fix a flat tire, Caruthers said. She befriended him and he helped do some odd jobs around the house.
Huot reportedly told the woman he had fallen on hard times and asked if he and his girlfriend could stay at the home for a while, Caruthers said. The woman consented.
Based on an anonymous tip that methamphetamine was being produced at the residence, deputies went to the home and met with Hyder.
Hyder appeared to be very nervous, according to a sheriff’s office press release. Deputies explained why they responded to the location, they received consent to search from the homeowner and entered the attic confirming the presence of methamphetamine oil and all paraphernalia to manufacture methamphetamines. Hyder reportedly admitted to knowing about the methamphetamine and assisting her boyfriend with moving the methamphetamine oil and paraphernalia in the garage attic.
She confirmed that her boyfriend was cooking methamphetamine in the garage without the knowledge of the homeowner.
The meth was moved to the attic just after midnight when deputies responded to this residence and
arrested Huot on several out of county warrants, one out of Lake County for possession of narcotic equipment and improper endorsement on driver’s license; the other from Marion County for violation of probation for driving under the influence.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Clandestine Lab Response Team was called and assisted in the dismantling of the lab.
Detectives interviewed Huot who admitted to manufacturing the methamphetamine in the garage. He
also admitted to hiding the bottles that he was utilizing to manufacture the methamphetamine in the
attic. He additionally stated that several items such as Drano, coffee filters, tubing and possibly some type of fuel would be located in a blue plastic tub.
Caruthers said the couple had only been staying with the woman a few weeks.
The two were arrested and charged with the following:
Hyder was arrested for trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of narcotic paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $100,500/
Huot was arrested for trafficking in methamphetamine, manufacturing of methamphetamines, keeping or maintaining a drug shop and possession of paraphernalia. No bond was set.