Funeral Industry News

Cemetery Owner Charged With Running Meth Lab

January 5, 2010

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Cemetery Owner Charged With Running Meth Lab

imageWOOD RIVER, IL – A man under fire for alleged sloppy operation of a cemetery may be in even bigger trouble now after being charged with several counts related to methamphetamine production.

William C. Work, 48, of 370 N. Sixth St., in unincorporated Wood River Township, was charged Monday in Madison County Circuit Court with a Class X felony, aggravated unlawful participation in methamphetamine manufacturing, and two other charges.

Work is accused of cooking the drug at his home, which bears the same address as Woodland Hill Cemetery, the target of complaints of shoddy operation. People have complained there never is anyone home at the house, and the telephone has been cut off.

The cemetery has been under the scrutiny of local officials and the Illinois State Comptroller’s Office, whose job it is oversee trusts established for the care of gravesites.

Capt. Brad Wells of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department said deputies received a tip last Thursday from a confidential source and referred the case to a deputy currently assigned to the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois, a unit of the Illinois State Police.

The deputy went to Work’s home on New Year’s Eve and contacted Work. He found material used in making meth, and a meth lab, as well as a child under the age of 18, a news release from the Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

Along with the Class X felony, Work also is charged with unlawful methamphetamine child endangerment and unlawful possession of methamphetamine manufacturing materials.

He allegedly participated in the manufacture of more than 900 grams of the drug while a child was present and endangered the life and health of the child.

He also possessed lithium batteries, lye and camp stove fuel. Bail was set at $100,000.

Wells said deputies have participated in some of the investigations of the shoddy operation of the cemetery.

“We are familiar with him,” he said about Work.

However, the drug charge is not related to the cemetery problems.

“Perhaps only as far as his problems at the cemetery are related to his other issues,” Wells said.

Work previously was convicted of methamphetamine production in 2004.

Families whose loved ones are buried at Woodland Hill have complained that dirt has been left piled on grave markers, equipment has been left sitting on gravesites and equipment used to dig graves has damaged tombstones.

People have said Work has failed or has been slow to react to complaints of poor maintenance. The Madison County Buildings and Lands Department has issued citations for county ordinance violations, and some of the problems have been corrected.

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