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Colonial Regional Police Bust Suspected Meth Lab on Old Forge Drive

Colonial Regional Police executed a search warrant on Election Day morning at 127 Old Forge Drive in Bath Borough; so far, three people have been charged.

Five people are suspected of running a methamphetamine lab out of a house in Bath, and three so far have been charged.

Colonial Regional Police executed a search warrant on Election Day morning at 127 Old Forge Drive and found the three people who have been charged.

They also found such items inside and outside the house as protective gear for handling chemicals, an empty bottle of drain cleaner and “numerous” empty boxes of pseudoephedrine.

A state police expert at the house called the items “precursors commonly used for the manufacturing of methamphetamine,” court records say.

Two of those charged have addresses in Somerset County, N.J., as do the home's owners -- the owners have not been charged. The third person has a Philadelphia address.

The suspects are:

  • Francesco Ditaranto, 24, of the Old Forge Drive address. Court records also list an address of Hillsborough, N.J., which is in Somerset County.
  • Melissa A. Bailey, 36, of 1167 Sherlin Drive, Bridgewater, N.J., also in Somerset County.
  • Thomas Paul Mauro, 33, of 2635 S. Franklin St., which is near 7th Street and Oregon Avenue in South Philadelphia.

Northampton County records list the owners of the Old Forge Drive house as two women with a Bridgewater, N.J., address. They have not been charged.

Police interviewed Bailey and Mauro, who admitted they and Ditaranto “were paid with money or methamphetamine to buy pseudoephedrine with knowledge it would be used to make methamphetamine,” the records say.

Meanwhile, a criminal complaint was filed Tuesday against a fourth person -- Jamie Lynn Kinghorn, a 36-year-old woman whose address is listed in online court records as Bath. But Kinghorn has not been formally charged and is apparently at large. The status of her case is listed as “inactive.”

The criminal complaints against Ditaranto, Bailey and Mauro say they conspired with Kinghorn and a fifth person to operate a meth lab.

The fifth person, a male, apparently has not been charged. No information about him was filed with District Judge Douglas Schlegel of Wind Gap, who arraigned the three people Tuesday. Online court records do not list anything about the male.

Inside the house, police found a state prison inmate ID with a photo of the male, the records say.

The criminal complaint filed by Colonial Regional Det. Sgt. Michael Melinsky provides other details:

  • Police executed the search warrant at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. They found that a rear second-floor bedroom was a center of activity. For instance, two windows were open while temperatures outside were in the 20s, while a box fan was rigged to an open window as a makeshift exhaust fan.
  • Also found in the bedroom was a Tyvek suit -- the kind of protective gear worn by haz-mat crews -- gloves and respiration equipment, as well as ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the empty bottle of drain cleaner, burnt aluminum foil strips and a small plastic funnel with white residue.
  • Still more items in the bedroom included personal paperwork, receipts, identification and pictures -- belonging to and identifying Kinghorn.
  • Outside to the rear of the house, police found a plastic bag with several plastic bottles and plastic tubing. The bottles had chemical residue inside.

Ditaranto, Bailey and Mauro were charged with criminal conspiracy – operating a methamphetamine lab; criminal conspiracy – liquefied ammonia gas: precursors and chemicals; knowingly possessing ephedrine; criminal conspiracy – manufacturing a controlled substance; criminal conspiracy – possession of a controlled substance, and criminal conspiracy – causing or risking a catastrophe.

The charges against Kinghorn listed in the online records are similar: operating a meth lab; knowingly possessing ephedrine; manufacturing, delivering or possessing with intent to manufacture or deliver; possession of a controlled substance; causing a catastrophe, and two counts of possessing red phosphorus with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.

Ditaranto, Bailey and Mauro were committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail each.

An information sheet in the criminal complaint against Mauro says that his father, Tommaso Mauro, is in federal prison on a gambling violation. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia had no information on Tommaso Mauro, and the federal Bureau of Prisons website had no information about him as an inmate.

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