Meth lab raid nets 13-year-old

Meth lab raid nets 13-year-old

Adam Lynn Staff writer

It’s not uncommon for drug detectives to encounter children while raiding methamphetamine laboratories, but a case from Sunday surprised local investigators.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 13-year-old boy they say was helping two men cook the highly addictive drug in an apartment on Spokane’s lower South Hill.

Most kids found at meth labs are innocent bystanders, usually related to the men or women making the drug.

Investigators said the boy arrested Sunday cleaned jars used in the meth-making process and kept an eye on the drug while it was cooking. He is not related to the two men he was helping, they said.

“We don’t find very many 13-year-olds, or 14- or 15-year-olds, involved in manufacturing meth,” said Lt. Chan Bailey of the sheriff’s Investigative Support Unit, which investigates drug crimes. “As a matter of fact, this is the first one I’m aware of.”

The boy was booked into the juvenile detention center on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine, a felony.

He has a history of arrests and was wanted on a warrant charging him with car theft when he was picked up Sunday, deputies said. Bailey also said the boy often runs the streets. The teenager told deputies Sunday he resides at an address in the 2700 block of East Garland.

“The 13-year-old is not unknown to law enforcement or other social service agencies,” Bailey said. “He’s a street kid we’ve seen before.”

How he hooked up with the two men in the case is unknown.

The case began late Saturday when patrol Deputy Michael McNees stopped a car for a traffic infraction, said Cpl. Dave Reagan, sheriff’s spokesman.

McNees recognized the driver, 38-year-old Robert Trumbull, and discovered that the man’s driver’s license was suspended, Reagan said.

The boy was in the car at the time of the stop, Reagan said.

McNees reported seeing red stains on Trumbull’s hands, stains that are indicative of using iodine, a common ingredient in meth-making. The deputy also noticed Red Devil lye inside the car, Reagan said. Lye is also used in manufacturing the drug.

After interviewing the pair, McNees concluded they were cooking meth in Trumbull’s apartment and arrested them. He then drove to the apartment and found 20-year-old James Perry there, Reagan said.

“Perry was apparently left at the apartment Saturday to watch things while Trumbull and the young teen were out collecting more ingredients,” Reagan said.

McNees took Perry into custody on an outstanding warrant and called in drug detectives to search the apartment.

They found a “medium- to large-sized lab,” Reagan said. The trio was venting its operation into the crawl space under the 11-unit apartment building, exposing neighbors to potentially toxic fumes, Reagan said.

Drug detectives spent Sunday cleaning up the lab.

Both Trumbull and James were booked into jail on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine, a felony.

They were ordered held Monday on $50,000 bond.

Copyright 2003 Cowles Publishing Company

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.