Pubdate: Wed, 08 Feb 2006
Source: Arizona Range News (AZ)
Copyright: 2006 Arizona Range News
Contact: (520) 384-3572
Note: Weekly, published Weds.
Author: Ainslee S. Wittig
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our 
editors may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who 
have  not been convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise 
public  figures or officials.


Three suspected methamphetamine labs were found Friday during a 
search at a residence on the corner of Grant Street and First Avenue 
in Willcox.

The property, enclosed by a fiberglass panel fence which obstructs 
the view of the yard and residence from the outside, is owned by 
[Name redacted], 46.

Flasks, chemicals and tubing were found when a search warrant for 
[Name redacted]' property was executed by the Willcox Police 
Department and the Phoenix -based HIDTA (High Intensity Drug 
Trafficking Area) task force at 8 a.m., said Police Chief Jake Weaver.

"We got information about the residence from a suspect in an 
unrelated arrest last week." Weaver said. "We notified the meth task 
force and set up surveillance. We saw a State Land sign inside a bus 
on the property. We called State Land and they said they shouldn't 
have that, so we obtained a search warrant for stolen property."

"In the process, we saw items likely used in a meth lab inside the 
bus, and we backed out and went to court for another search warrant," 
he said. "We left security at the site all night and went in with the 
warrant this morning," Weaver said Friday.

[Name redacted], 46, was not home.

Weaver said [Name redacted] served time in prison in Oklahoma for 
manufacturing methamphetamine, and was then reportedly transferred to 
Arizona to serve time for another conviction, but Weaver was not sure 
what that was.

The meth labs "appeared to be inactive," however there were items 
that could still be dangerous, he said.

"We found an item that had numerous wires coming from it, which could 
be an explosive device. It resembled a heating element, but it will 
be buried and detonated in case," Weaver said.

IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are often found at meth labs to 
hurt or kill officers, he said.

The HIDTA officers and Willcox police collected evidence and checked 
for fingerprints that might indicate [Name redacted] was involved 
with the suspected labs, Weaver said.

Evidence will be forwarded to Arizona Attorney General's Office to 
seek a Grand Jury indictment, he said.

Weaver noted the dangers of manufacturing meth, including the mixture 
of chemicals that can be explosive and the toxic residue left behind.

"He could've blown that neighborhood up with just one lab. And we've 
found three, so far," he said.

Weaver said the Willcox Police Department has done everything in its 
power to stop methamphetamine use and production in Willcox, 
including writing an ordinance that has been approved to limit and 
restrict the sale of psuedoephedrine, an ingredient in meth, and put 
on public service advertisements warning of the dangers of meth at 
the local Rex Allen Theater where kids will see them.

Also, Weaver connected local physician, Dr. Dawn Walker, with the 
Partnership for a Drug Free America, and then spearheaded the start 
of the Anti-Meth Task Force in Willcox, with the combined efforts of 
Northern Cochise Community Hospital, Willcox Against Substance Abuse 
and the police department.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman