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Meth lab found in mobile home

Ryan Graff

The Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team responded to the Glenwood Springs Police Department Monday after a man brought to the station a methamphetamine lab he had found.The man was cleaning a No Name mobile home when he found jars of acid, a can of Coleman fuel and various other jars from a chemical supply company used to make methamphetamine. The man packed the materials in a box and brought them to the Glenwood Springs Police, according Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, TRIDENT chairman. “That was not a good thought,” said Vallario. “The guy who brought it to us was suffering some exposure,” he said. Vallario did not know the man’s name or what relation he had to the mobile home.The lab was found in Rock Gardens Mobile Home and Camper Park in No Name, but Kevin Schneider, who owns the park, wasn’t aware of the incident until Wednesday afternoon. “This is news to me,” Schneider said. “It doesn’t surprise me either. Look at the clientele.”The mobile home where the lab was found has been vacant since mid-December, he said, and a new tenant is scheduled to move in this month. “We don’t like that stuff floating around here,” he said, and noted that Rock Gardens is in a transition phase from mobile home park to nightly resort.The discovery of the methamphetamine lab comes on the heels of a TRIDENT undercover operation and two methamphetamine distribution arrests early this month. In December, police said an undercover TRIDENT officer bought methamphetamine from Maya Kurtz at her 927 Colorado Ave. home, where they also made arrangements to buy acid (PCP) from Nathan Willhite.The officer later met Willhite at his 50235 Highways 6 & 24 residence where he bought more methamphetamine, but no acid. On Jan. 4, TRIDENT and other officers executed search warrants at both locations and arrested Kurtz, 26, and Willhite, 30, at their respective residences. Police seized methamphetamine, pharmaceutical drugs, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, money, and closed circuit video equipment from the Colorado Avenue location. They also seized containers with methamphetamine residue, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a stun gun, a handgun and more closed circuit video surveillance equipment at the Highway 6 & 24 location, according to TRIDENT.Kurtz faces charges of distribution, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of methamphetamine. Kurtz was also charged with possession of morphine sulfate, diazepam, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. Willhite faces charges with distribution, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of methamphetamine.The lag time between the undercover work in December and the search and arrests at the beginning of January is typical, Vallario said. “To prove a distribution case … we want to show a pattern of distribution,” he said. “And we also want to try and climb the (drug distribution) ladder.” Distribution of methamphetamine is a class 3 felony punishable by two to 24 years in prison and a $3,000 to $750,000 fine.Methamphetamine has been a problem in the United States for years, especially in the rural areas of the West, Midwest, and some parts of the South, according to http://www.streetdrugs.org. The problem appears to be making its way to Garfield County. “We’ve seen more labs and lab stuff in the last six months than we had in the last 10 years,” Vallario said. Making methamphetamine used to be very complex, and 10 years ago only a handful of people in the nation knew how. But the Internet has spread methamphetamine recipes, and all the needed materials are available at Wal-Mart for about $100, Vallario said. “Thousands of people are making methamphetamine,” he said. And, “the methamphetamine thing is kind of creeping up on us.”


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