By CHRIS COLLINS
Of the Baker City Herald
Police believe they made a big dent in the methamphetamine supply to the Baker area Wednesday when they busted a suspected meth lab at Pleasant Valley and arrested six people on drug charges.
Investigators made the arrests after executing search warrants about 9:30 a.m. at the former Pleasant Valley Motel, which has been converted to a home, and at a single-wide mobile home across the street from it.
Police were greeted by a friendly 168-pound dog that appeared to be a Lab-Great Dane cross, according to Lt. Ray Duman of the Oregon State Police. Detectives found about 1 ounces of methamphetamine as well as marijuana, weapons, drug paraphernalia and a small amount of chemicals left over from processing methamphetamine.
This will significantly reduce the meth available in Baker Valley, Duman said.
Typically, those who produce methamphetamine are using the drug themselves and then selling whatever is left over to support themselves, he said.
The partial lab was found in a shed behind the mobile home at 34614 Highway 30. Other chemicals used to produce the drug were found at the motel, Duman said.
Molly Beda Johnson, 33, and her boyfriend, Danny Leo Campbell, 46, lived at the mobile home, according to Duman.
Campbell, who had been wanted on a felony charge of absconding from parole in Umatilla County for five years, was charged with manufacturing, possessing and delivering methamphetamine, ex-con in possession of a firearm and keeping and maintaining a place where controlled substances are used.
Johnson was charged with a single count of possessing methamphetamine.
Gary Emil Fuller, 60, was the principal renter at the motel residence, Duman said. He was charged with tampering with physical evidence, keeping and maintaining a place where controlled substances are used and possessing and delivering methamphetamine.
Debra Kaye Harris, 47, who is awaiting trial for a previous charge of possessing and delivering methamphetamine, was charged Wednesday with additional counts of possession and delivery of methamphetamine and keeping and maintaining a place where controlled substances are used.
The two homes appeared to be flop houses for the others taken into custody, Duman said.
Andrew Ellicot Nelson, 34, was charged with frequenting a place where controlled substances are used and delivery and possession of methamphetamine. Police seized a .38-caliber revolver from Nelson, Duman said.
Joshua Delbert Sorensen, 22, was charged with a probation violation and frequenting a place where controlled substances are used.
Duman said police had received information about a drug lab operating in the Pleasant Valley area over the past two to three months. Officers were able to confirm the information over the past several weeks, he said.
On Tuesday, officers arrested Ronald Alan Mathews, 41, of 889 Elm St., on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine and theft as part of an ongoing investigation involving a search warrant served at a Sumpter home on March 28. During the search, police recovered an ATV allegedly taken from the Meacham area.
Duman said officers were able to develop information from that investigation to confirm the presence of methamphetamine at one of the Pleasant Valley homes.
Detectives from the Baker County Narcotics Enforcement Team were assisted in the investigation by members of Union Countys Multi-agency Drug Enforcement Response Interdiction Team and uniformed officers from the Baker City Police, Oregon State Police and Baker County Sheriffs Department, Duman said. Twelve officers participated in Wednesdays investigation.