Keefeton grass fire reveals meth lab

Keefeton grass firereveals meth lab

4 August 2006

published by http://www.muskogeephoenix.com


KEEFETON — Firefighters discovered a methamphetamine lab inside a dilapidated mobile home and three stolen motorcycles after extinguishing a grass fire that ignited about 75 yards south of the structure.

Authorities said it was unclear whether the fire was linked to the clandestine operations inside the trailer. Several jugs of chemicals believed to be in varying stages of the meth manufacturing process were found inside the mobile home at 4941 Elm Grove Road.

Glassware, precursor chemicals and other items used to make methamphetamine also were found inside the trailer, according to authorities. Motorcycles reportedly stolen from Puerto Rico and Mexico were found chained behind an outbuilding south of the mobile home.

Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson said a suspect believed to have been involved with the lab was arrested at about 6 p.m.

According to Pearson, Vincent Baker, 33, was returning to the mobile home when he spotted firefighters and law enforcers on the property. “He headed on down the road when he saw us,” Pearson said. “But we caught up with him and took him into custody.”

Pearson said Baker had some cold medicine and boxes of matchbooks on the front seat of the vehicle he was driving. Both products are used to manufacture methamphetamine: Pseudoephedrine is extracted from the cold tablets, and red phosphorous from the matchbook covers.

Keefeton Fire Commissioner Speck Plunkett said firefighters spotted the meth lab through a broken window while they were checking for hot spots after dousing the grass fire, which burned about an acre.

“We were checking the area when we stumbled upon what appeared to be a meth lab,” said Plunkett, who notified the sheriff’s office about the discovery.

Keefeton Fire Chief Raymond Bray said besides the lab and the three motorcycles, authorities found a horse nearly dead by starvation, cancer and broken leg.

Pearson said a veterinarian who picked up the animal determined the horse would be euthanized because of its poor health.

Pearson commended the Keefeton firefighters for their efforts.

“These guys did a good job,” Pearson said. “Their training paid off and nobody got hurt.”

Pearson said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency had been notified, and a hazardous materials crew was dispatched to clean up the scene.

Baker was booked into Muskogee County/City Detention Facility on complaints of two counts of endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of stolen property, possession of controlled substance and animal cruelty.

He was being held without bond Thursday.

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer


 

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