Archive for Thursday, August 10, 2000

Authorities raid DeSoto meth lab

August 10, 2000

A DeSoto man was arrested Thursday night for allegedly operating a methamphetamine lab from his home at 32645 W. 83rd Street, lot E.

Roger Newton Jr., 30, faces federal charges after county investigators found him and another man, Michael Allen Lisenbee, 37, manufacturing the drug inside the mobile home at 7 p.m. Thursday. Lisenbee did not live in the home, but is from the Linwood area, police said.

According to Lt. Bob Miller, commander of the county's drug squad, the men were "cooking" the methamphetamine when more than a dozen police officers arrived to serve the warrant. Executing the raid were close to ten officers from the Sheriff's Department and at least four members of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Miller said.

Because the investigation is still underway, Miller could not give a specific list of what was found during the raid, but he said the home contained a large amount of items traditionally used to manufacture the drug.

"It was a good sized lab," he said. "We took out approximately 97 items ranging from quart jars with liquid to empty fuel cans and empty acetone cans."

Miller said three young children, all with the last name of Newton, were in the home Thursday as the men were manufacturing the combustible drugs.

"That's disturbing, because it's a very dangerous process," he said.

The meth lab was the second raided by police in DeSoto this summer. Miller said drug manufacturers are moving out of the city and into smaller communities.

"I wouldn't say it's a common thing, but it is becoming more of a problem in rural communities," he said. "The (methamphetamine) cooks are moving out of the larger cities. Independence used to be the hot spot, but the DEA and local police have put so much pressure on them and raided so many labs that they're moving out in an effort to avoid being detected."

Adding to the problem, Miller said, is the abundance of information available to drug manufacturers.

"The recipes are actually very simple now and they're available on the Internet," he said. "It used to be that it took a good chemist to make the stuff, now days it's basically like making a cake, a very dangerous cake."

Chemicals used in the manufacturing produce a distinct smell, Miller said.

"There's a smell that's hard to describe unless you've smelled it before. But once you do, you know what it is," he said. "The best way I can describe it is to say it smells like nail polish remover or lantern fuel. I've also heard it described as smelling like cat urine or ammonia.

Methamphetamine is cheap to make and is very profitable, Miller said. Those who make it, however, generally live in poor conditions.

"It's easy for these people to make money, but the same people who make are also using it and they're not usually interested in spending money on anything other than more of the drug," he said. "It's very addictive. It's often referred to as the poor man's cocaine."

Side affects of the drug include jittery behavior, rapid weight loss and tooth rot, Miller said.

"We arrested a man once and had him out in his garage so he could settle down a little and he was just constantly fiddling with something," he said. "Another example I've heard of was a heavy user who would take a motorcycle apart and put it back together again just to have something to do."

Miller said the officers were first informed about the Newton's lab a couple of months ago.

"It takes some time before we can move these things," he said. "We have to make sure there is actually a lab there and we have to protect the safety of people nearby."

The two men were charged in federal court Tuesday and are being held without bond.

Newton's wife, Sonya L. Newton was also arrested and charged with maintaining a house for the purpose of manufacturing drugs.

If convicted the two men could face 10 years to life in prison.

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