Monday, November 12, 2001

Preacher in jail on drug charges

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA TOWNSHIP — A Clermont County minister, charged in an interstate methamphetamine ring, remained jailed Sunday in lieu of $250,000 bond.

        The Rev. Alfred Strunk, 48, is accused of using Federal Express to send money to a Florida connection that provided the drug, which was then distributed in Clermont County, police said.

        Methamphetamine, or meth, is a powerful stimulant.

        County Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg said Rev. Strunk's church is at 2525 Bauer Road, which is listed as Clermont Missions. A message left Sunday on the facility's answering machine was not returned.

        The survivalist church is associated with Alabama-born preacher David Terrell, a self-proclaimed prophet who believes the end of the world is near.

        Rev. Strunk's church believes in the construction of fortified bunker-type shelters “so that when the end of the world is upon us, he might be protected,” the sheriff said.

        On a Web site dedicated to this belief, Mr. Terrell writes that biblical passages foretell a worldwide destruction and points to the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East as proof that the apocalypse has begun.

        The sheriff said that, other than minor traffic offenses, Rev. Strunk has never been in trouble with the law in Clermont, where he has lived for several years.

        Police responded to a tip and obtained a search warrant, intercepting a FedEx package to the preacher that contained meth, the sheriff said.

        A grand jury indicted Rev. Strunk Wednesday on one count of drug trafficking, a fourth-degree felony. The preacher surrendered on Thursday.

        Sheriff Rodenberg said additional charges may be filed. A preliminary hearing has not been set.


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