Surveillance leads authorities to local meth lab

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By Shane Farley
October 11, 2012 - 1:29:14 pm

Round-the-clock surveillance of a meth-production site led to the arrest of an Ark City man and the recovery of a stolen vehicle, authorities said.

Cowley County Drug Task Force agents were watching Wednesday when two men, carrying products used in the production of meth, arrived at a location approximately three miles west and three miles north of Ark City. The area had been under surveillance because it appeared meth production was occurring there.

Around 2:30 p.m., the men are said to have arrived at the site. One of them, Steven R. Helms, 52, approached officers that were monitoring the site. When authorities identified themselves, Helms, according to a report from the sheriff’s office, took off on foot.

Helms was arrested and booked into jail on charge of manufacturing meth, possession, obstruction, criminal trespass and other drug-related offenses. He remained in jail Thursday with bond set at $153,000.

A second suspect was not as close to the officers and made his way to a vehicle to flee the scene. He is said to have nearly struck pursuing officers as he left.

That suspect has not been located but was identified by officers. His case will be forwarded to the county attorney’s office for consideration.

The meth lab and dump site were processed by agents with the drug task force and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Missouri-based Environmental Works was on scene to handle hazard materials involved in the processing.

During the investigation, a second, abandoned dump site was discovered a short distance west of the main site. A 1994 pickup was found hidden in the trees there.

That vehicle was determined to have been stolen from a location in Grant County, Okla. on Monday. The vehicle was impounded.

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