Archive for Friday, November 12, 2004

Drug bust nets suspected meth cooks

November 12, 2004

William Francis

William Francis

Law enforcement officers arrested three men -- including one of Kansas' Most Wanted -- and collected a host of illegal substances Wednesday in a drug bust at a Eudora residence.

The men, taken into custody after a search that afternoon in the 1300 block of Cherry St., are believed to have been manufacturing methamphetamine somewhere nearby.

Arrested were Johnathan Read, 22, and Kevin Reed, 24, both of Eudora, and William (Bill) Francis, 39, whose residence is unknown. Francis is listed as one of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation's most-wanted criminals for bail and personal recognizance violations.

Eudora Police Chief Greg Dahlem said the arrests were made after an ongoing investigation by his department, the Lawrence Police Department and the Lawrence-Douglas County Drug Enforcement Unit.

During their search of the residence, officers seized methamphetamine, a meth "how-to" book and video, scales, and a large quantity of pseudoephedrine tablets. A handgun with ammunition, hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana and drug paraphernalia were also found in the home.

Although they found many of meth's ingredients, Dahlem said police did not find an actual meth lab in the home on Cherry Street. The suspects, he said, probably did their manufacturing, or "cooking," at other places in the Douglas County area.

"Basically, the three individuals that were arrested, that were the cooks, pretty much just went from place to place," Dahlem said. "At this time we don't think they were cooking in that residence."

Meth-making setups are often of transportable size, Dahlem said, enabling cooks to float around.

"The labs are very, very small," he said. "A lot of times you can get almost everything you need for a working lab in nothing more than the size of a small cooler."

Wednesday's search revealed a doubly dangerous situation, Dahlem said, about which citizens would be wise to be concerned.

"Anytime you have anybody messing with meth, you know typically the chemicals they use are very volatile," Dahlem said. "With the weapons they should be even more concerned. Normally people who are into drugs are very, very paranoid."

Dahlem said the investigation that eventually caught the men stemmed from a citizen tip. He encouraged citizens to make it a point to report any suspicious activity to the police.

"We try to stress that anytime citizens have a concern, fear or suspicion that anything like this is going on, don't hesitate to call," he said. "We rely on the public."

On Saturday, at another residence in Eudora, police seized what they believe to be a meth lab and arrested two other suspects -- a 44-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman -- believed to be producing the drug. Because the investigation is ongoing, the address and suspects' names were not released.

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