Monday, 24 June 2024

Authorities bust suspected Kelseyville meth lab Wednesday

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On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, Lake County Sheriff's Office investigators arrested 39-year-old Lonnie Ray Scott of Kelseyville, who they found sleeping in this airline cargo container. Scott was allegedly cooking methamphetamine in the container. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

 



KELSEYVILLE – A SWAT team and state officials were called in Wednesday morning to assist sheriff's investigators with shutting down a methamphetamine lab capable of producing tens of thousands of dollars worth of the drug each week.


Just after 7 a.m. Wednesday the Lake County Narcotic Task Force served a warrant on a property in the 4700 block of Cole Creek Road in Kelseyville, where they suspected a methamphetamine lab was located, said sheriff's Sgt. Andy Davidson. The warrant had been signed on Tuesday by Judge Richard Martin.


Amidst a field scattered with children's toys, deputies found several airline cargo containers. Inside one of them was sleeping 39-year-old Lonnie Ray Scott, with a large one- to one-and-a-half gallon bottle of methamphetamine cooking nearby, said Davidson.


When the SWAT team arrived Scott knocked over the capped bottle of methamphetamine and got up to fight but he was taken by gunpoint out of the container, Davidson said.


Davidson, who oversees methamphetamine-related investigations for the Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit and also is one of the two leaders for the sheriff's SWAT team, said the SWAT team was called in because Scott has had gun-related issues in the past.


Assisting with the search warrant service was the Major Crimes Unit and the Mendocino County Narcotics Task Force, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


While no processed methamphetamine was found, chemicals, equipment and other evidence of a clandestine lab were seized, Bauman said. Also found was a hypodermic needle filled with what appeared to be blood, Davidson said.


Scott is wanted on a methamphetamine-related warrant in Oklahoma where he has had pursuits with law enforcement. Davidson said Scott also is wanted in Los Angeles on a warrant.


Once the lab was uprighted after being knocked over, the occupants of the home on the property – including three children and Scott's girlfriend and sister – were evacuated, Davidson said.


Bauman said that in addition to Scott his sister, 31-year-old Misty Rose Scott, and his girlfriend, 44-year-old Michelle Lynn Havens, were arrested. All three arrestees were residing at the home.


In addition, three children – two boys, ages 5 and 12, who reportedly belonged to Lonnie Scott and Havens, as well as a 9-year-old girl belonging to Misty Scott – all were taken into protective custody and turned over to Child Protective Services, said Bauman. Davidson said that the children were taken to Sutter Lakeside Hospital for evaluation.


Lonnie Scott was booked at the Lake County Jail on felony charges of manufacturing a controlled substance, child endangerment and two outstanding warrants. He is being held on an enhanced bail of $500,000, Bauman said.


Bauman said Misty Scott was booked on felony charges of manufacturing a controlled substance, child endangerment, and misdemeanor possession of narcotics paraphernalia. She is being held on a $40,000 bail.


Havens was booked on a felony charge of child endangerment and misdemeanor charges of possessing narcotics paraphernalia, possession of a hypodermic syringe, being under the influence of a controlled substance and an out-of-county warrant, Bauman said. Havens is held on a $25,000 bail.


Bauman said detectives began investigating the case in April after following up on a lead that Lonnie Scott might be in possession of a large amount of methamphetamine.


He said the month-long investigation included an extensive review by detectives, of logs kept by local pharmacies on the sales of ephedrine based medications, which further implicated Scott as an alleged methamphetamine manufacturer.


At the scene Wednesday were members of a California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement lab team out of San Francisco, which Bauman said was called in to the site by mid-morning to dismantle the lab and mitigate its related hazardous materials.


A San Jose disposal team was due to destroy the lab, Davidson said, and Lake County Environmental Health also was called out to make sure the lab hadn't contaminated the soils.


Because of the chemicals and metals used to make methamphetamine, it's a very toxic and explosive compound, Davidson said. It's believed one of the other storage containers had burned because of a lab-related fire.


Davidson said investigators concluded the Kelseyville lab was capable of producing as much as a half-pound of methamphetamine at a time, over the course of about a day. Half a pound of methamphetamine has a street value of $8,000 he said.


Methamphetamine commonly is purchased in quarter-gram amounts, Davidson said.


“This is a very odd lab for Lake County,” said Davidson, where what's referred to as the “red-P ephedrine reduction method” is more commonly found.


He called the Kelseyville lab a “one pot cooking method.” It's also known as the “Nazi method,” which uses chemicals including anhydrous ammonia.


The “Nazi method” is so-named because the German government reportedly used it to make methamphetamine during World War II, dispensing it to soldiers, sailors and pilots to fuel the war across Europe.


It's been three to four years since the sheriff's office busted a methamphetamine lab, said Davidson.


Methamphetamine production once was extremely prevalent in the county. In 2002, the year Davidson joined the Lake County Narcotic Task Force, he said they busted 13 labs. By 2007, that number had dropped to two.


Law enforcement officials across the country have reported in recent years that methamphetamine production has largely gone south of the Mexican border, where it's controlled by drug cartels that use illegally grown marijuana to purchase the needed chemicals.


Davidson said another factor in forcing production south is that ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, among the main ingredients for methamphetamine manufacture, are increasingly harder to get in the United States.


Several years ago, Lake County put into effect its own limits on pseudoephedrine and its purchase in the form of cold medicines, which now are carefully monitored at the time of sale.


However, with the increasing controls put on the border with Mexico, methamphetamine isn't getting over the border as easily. With the demand not going down, one of the unintended consequences of border control is that methamphetamine labs are starting to pop up again, Davidson said.


He estimated that 99 percent of the methamphetamine used in Lake County comes from outside of its borders.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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