Archive for Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Police discover ‘mobile meth lab’ in car

February 4, 2004

What began as a report that a customer tried to write a bad check at a Tonganoxie convenience store ended in what authorities believe was the capture of a mobile methamphetamine lab.

John Putthoff, acting Tonganoxie police chief, said that about 11 a.m. Saturday, Tonganoxie police received a call from G&P Country Market about a man who had tried to write a bad check.

Two men were leaving the store, and the officer told them to stop. According to Putthoff, one of the men dropped a gallon jug of milk on the ground and both men took off running.

Tonganoxie police officer Chip Marquardt followed and, at gunpoint, ordered one of the men to stop.

A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper assisted Marquardt, Putthoff said.

"The guy gave up pretty easily," Putthoff said.

The 32-year-old man, who has been temporarily living at Sunset Motel, was arrested.

It was later learned that the Basehor Police Department had a warrant for the man's arrest on charges of failure to appear on traffic and drug paraphernalia charges, said Basehor police Sgt. Martin Cigich.

The second suspect escaped, but soon was reported seen at Sunset Motel -- along with the car, a pink Ford Taurus, that had been at G&P Market.

"We got word that the car showed up at the motel and one of the females was throwing stuff in the back of the car," Putthoff said. "They got out of there in a hurry."

The car headed east on U.S. Highway 24-40. Tonganoxie police contacted Basehor police, who stopped the car, which was speeding, at 142nd Street, which Cigich said, is just outside Basehor city limits.

The 24-year-old male driver of the car was driving on a suspended license and without insurance, Cigich said.

"The driver was nervous," Cigich said. "And he ended up telling the officer that there were some meth lab items in the vehicle -- he didn't want to be charged with that."

A sheriff's detective searched the vehicle and found the alleged meth-making products, Basehor police officer Andrew Slaughter said.

Police took the driver into custody, as well as two of the three women passengers, 22- and 24-year-old sisters, who had outstanding Kansas warrants. The sisters' mother, the third passenger, was not taken into custody.

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