Alleged meth labs busted

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Another methamphetamine manufacturing operation was shut-down Tuesday in Austin.

The arrests of three individuals marks the third such meth lab facility discovered in Austin this year.

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Darcy Edge, 19, Brian C. Henderson, 23, and Nicole Davis, 19, are in the Mower County Jail on charges of operating the meth lab facilities and other related charges.

A fourth suspect, known only by the nickname "Twinkie" and described as a male in his mid 20s with dark hair and a chubby build is being sought.

The discovery of the meth lab on Austin’s northwest side was "purely a coincidence but at least one of the individuals, Henderson, has been a suspect for some time, according to Austin Police Chief Paul M. Philipp.

Austin police responded to a possible fire at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday to a house at 1909 Second Ave. NW.

Edge met an Austin police officer in the front yard of the residence and said a furnace fire had erupted but that it had been extinguished.

The police officer approached the residence and saw smoke coming from broken windows in the basement of the house. He also smelled fumes that are common in meth labs.

The Austin Fire Department responded to the alarm and discovered drug paraphernalia and materials used to manufacture methamphetamine drugs in the basement.

A neighbor told police and firefighters, the occupants of the house were suspected of doing drugs and that two men and a woman were seen exiting the house "in a hurry" just before smoke began pouring from the basement windows.

Davis and Edge were identified and arrested later Tuesday afternoon at the Domino’s Pizza Restaurant parking lot.

Both Henderson and Davis denied involvement in a meth lab, according to the police report.

A Rochester Police Department officer who works with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in investigating meth lab operations was summoned to Austin and inspected the house fire ruins and also determined it was the location of the manufacture of methamphetamine drugs based on the items left behind.

Edge rented the house from her mother, Darlene Edge, who lives in Mound.

Henderson lives at 1014 Fourth Ave. NE, and Davis claimed to live at 900 14th Street NW. However, another incident later Tuesday and also involving Edge took the Mower County Sheriff’s Department’s officers to another alleged methamphetamine manufacturing site.

A landlord contacted the Sheriff’s Department to send officers to an apartment building at 1304 10th Drive SE.

The landlord received information that a tenant, identified as Davis, had "trashed" the apartment. When the landlord went to the apartment to investigate and entered the living quarters, she found it damaged, but also drug paraphernalia in plain sight.

Upon investigation, deputies discovered a large amount of materials commonly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine drugs in the apartment occupied by Davis and outside in a trash container.

The Southeast Minnesota Narcotics Task Force was called to assist in the investigation and confirmed the deputies suspicions.

Mower County Sheriff Barry J. Simonson said the results of the 1304 10th Drive SE investigation will be turned over to Mower County Attorney Patrick A. Oman for review and more charges to be filed against Davis.

The sheriff said it is possible one part of the manufacturing operation took place at the 10th Drive SE address and another at the 1909 Second Ave. NW house in Austin.

The Austin police chief said the in-town operation appeared to be "not a very big operation" and that speculation only suggested it was large enough for the occupants’ own consumption and some possible street sales.