Traffic stop leads to drug lab shutdown

Bust marks the end of lengthy SCU investigaton

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

April 23, 2008 - An early morning traffic stop on April 17 ultimately resulted in a clandestine methamphetamine lab in Dike being shut down later that afternoon.

Federal Drug Enforcement Agency officials sent a crew out of Fort Worth to properly remove and clean up the County Road 3520 residence of David Eldon Pyron Jr., who remains in the Hopkins County jail on charges of possession nad manufacture of a controlled substance.

Special Crime Unit investigators said Pyron could face additional charges, and others arrests in connection with the bust could be forthcoming.

"Once again, due to the quick response of deputies, SCU and other officers who were able to get moving on it pretty fast, we were able to get it done and shut down this lab," said Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams, commending the officers who contributed to the bust, from the deputy who made the stop on to the investigators who discovered the lab and the agents who cleaned it up.

Hopkins County Sheriff's Deputy Aaron Hanna and Investigators Lewis Tatum and Jace Anglin got the ball rolling on the sequence of events that resulted in the bust.

The case got started around 2:30 Thursday morning when HCSO deputy Aaron Hanna stopped a gray pickup on the north service road of Interstate 30 near FM 69 for a traffic violation.

Hanna noted Pyron to be especially nervous and restless, even after the deputy advised the 40-year-old Dike man that he would be getting off with a warning instead of a citation. A suspicious Hanna then asked for and was given permission to search the truck.

A plastic lid with suspected "ice" methamphetamine was found in the driver's seat, and the substance field tested positive for the narcotic. Hanna and Sgt. Todd Evans, who had arrived at the scene to assist, arrested Pyron for possession of a controlled substance.

HCSO Investigators Jace Anglin and Lewis Tatum followed up on the arrest by interviewing Pyron. They then obtained permission to be on Pyron's County Road 3520 property while following up on a lead regarding a theft case. While on the property, the investigators observed what they believed to be a clandestine meth lab and called in Special Crime Unit officers.

SCU Lt. Ron Plaxco, and Sgts. Tony Crouse and Harold McClure confirmed that what the sheriff's investigators had seen was an active drug lab with drug "precursors," including chemicals in the process of being transformed into meth. However, there was no completed product at the location.

Following standard procedure, the SCU officers contacted the Dallas DEA office, which assists local agencies in the proper clean-up of contaminated areas.

SCU officers collected evidence for the case before the crew from Fort Worth sent by the DEA began the process of cleaning up and removing the chemicals so that they can be destroyed in the proper manner.

According to authorities, the bust marks the end of a lengthy investigation by the Special Crimes Unit, about two years of work related to methamphetamines. The investigation became more concentrated several months ago after officers received Information regarding manufacturing of methamphetamine.

"This was the first lab taken down in this county in at least 18 months," said SCU Lt. Ron Plaxco, who added that the crime team assisted Delta County authorities in shutting down a similar operation within the last 90 days. "Talking with the DEA agents, they told me that meth labs may be on the rise again due to the increased cost of smuggling it in from Mexico. It costs them more now."

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