Woman Busts Up Meth Lab; Faces Eviction


It wasn't an easy decision to make, but when Ardis Roth of Payson decided to turn her son in to police for manufacturing illegal drugs, she didn't think she'd also be getting herself into trouble.

Harry Tyson Roth, 26, and his girlfriend Brandi Star Burris, 23, were arrested Friday morning on charges of possession of the chemicals and equipment used to manufacture illegal drugs.

Ardis Roth, a resident of the Mountain View Apartments on South Ponderosa Street, said she watched the nightly news Thursday before going to bed. During the news, she watched a report about two men who were arrested in Phoenix for operating a meth lab.

The next morning, Roth said she woke up and walked into her living room to find her son and Burris asleep and noticed the same type of equipment in her home that was shown on the news the night before.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Roth said. "I immediately went over to a neighbor's apartment and called the police."

Agents from the Gila County Narcotics Task Force went to Roth's home, found that a recent meth cook had been performed, and took Roth's son and his girlfriend into custody.

"We got a search warrant and found more equipment and chemicals in the home," said one of the undercover agents. In addition to the drug charges, Roth's son was charged with the abuse of a vulnerable adult for setting up a meth lab in his handicapped mother's apartment.

While agents were investigating the meth lab, apartment manager Connie Kesteres notified the owners of the apartment complex, who live in Wyoming. The owner's response to the situation, according to Roth, was to let her know that she had until 5 p.m. to move out.

"I've had brain surgery, and have a bad heart," Roth said. "I know they didn't want anyone else living here, but he's my son. I did the right thing, and now they're throwing me out."

While task force agents cleared the lab Friday, personnel from the Payson Fire Department's rehab support team was on standby in the parking lot. One of the rehab workers said she thought the owners were being extremely unfair.

"She's one of the heroes," Carol Longacre said. "She absolutely did the right thing."

Nevertheless, law enforcement officials told Roth that her landlords could evict her in 30 days.

"It's all in the hands of the lawyer now," said the apartment manager, Connie Kesteres.

In the meantime, Roth said she's packing up her belongings and preparing to move to St. Johns to live with her other son.

As of Tuesday, Tyson Roth and Burris were being held in the Gila County Jail in Globe on bonds of $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.

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