Charges allege mobile meth lab

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH
  • Star Tribune
  • May 8, 2009 - 12:44 AM

A motorist who pulled his vehicle into a Maple Plain convenience store with methamphetamine "cooking" inside was arrested by an officer who was there getting gas for a squad car, authorities said.

A 48-year-old Independence man and his passenger, a 27-year-old man also from Independence, were arrested last week on suspicion of drug manufacture.

According to police, shortly before 1 p.m. on April 28, the 48-year-old man pulled into Olson's Market on Hwy. 12, towing another vehicle on a dolly. A West Hennepin police officer also had stopped there for gas. A routine check of the license plate on the vehicle showed that the owner had a suspended license and a warrant for his arrest. The vehicle was stopped, and the driver and his passenger were arrested.

A search of the vehicle revealed an overwhelming odor of ammonia, police said. Drug paraphernalia, containers and other items were found "that confirmed the presence of a methamphetamine lab," said West Hennepin Public Safety Director Ray McCoy.

Regional and federal drug investigators were called to examine the setup and to clean it up.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration confirmed that chemicals in at least one container were anhydrous ammonia and amphetamine, which were actively "cooking" in order to make methamphetamine.

A search by law enforcement officers of the men's home in Independence turned up drug paraphernalia, police said. The two were jailed and later released while test results on the substances are being conducted.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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