A married couple is facing drug charges after Baker County deputies raided a house where they said methamphetamine was being manufactured. Authorities say their six young children were also found in the home.
John Akridge Jr. and Staci Akridge, both 29, were arrested Thursday evening after deputies served a search warrant on their home on South Seventh Street in Macclenny, less than a mile from the Sheriff's Office. According to the Sheriff's Office report, authorities found Draino, kerosene, a nasal decongestant and four guns in the house, two of which were rifles.
In addition to the manufacture and trafficking charges, the Akridges were also charged with drug possession and child neglect charges, as well as selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a church -- First Baptist Church of Macclenny.
"This was for not only consumption by Mr. Ackridge, but also for sale and delivery of meth to individuals," Sheriff Joey Dobson said. "The father was cooking meth while the kids were in the house."
The children, whose ages were not released, were taken to a hospital to be decontaminated and checked before they were turned over to the Department of Children and Families. DCF said they're now in the care of relatives.
"We are investigating," DCF spokesman John Harrell said. "We're certainly glad that this was reported to DCF so we can help these kids. They are safe, they are in the care of relatives. We've already completed background checks on those relatives to make sure they can protect and care for these children."
Deputies have not said how the Akridge home came under surveillance or if any of the neighboring homes were at risk.
Klate Jesseman said he went to high school with both suspects and can't believe the idea of having children around meth, if, in fact, the charges are proven.
"It cringes, makes my stomach cringe in a way," Jesseman said. "Just the thought of it, for children to be subject to that and they're helpless."