Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 12, 2013

Quartet busted in meth sting

Ongoing drug task force probes bring down another operation

TAHLEQUAH — jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com

Four people got an unexpected visit Friday morning when members of the Tahlequah Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics team, along with the District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, served a search warrant near Cedar Avenue and Allen Road.

All four people inside the top-floor apartment were hauled to the Cherokee County Detention Center at around 8 a.m. Each could face three counts of endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine.

Tahlequah Canine Officer Cory Keele said police were following up on concerns about possible illegal activity occurring at the dwel ling, which is situated on the second story of what ap-pears to be a house-turned-apartment.

Keele said he and his canine partner, Bo, have been monitoring traffic that was seen at the apartment. Those traffic stops turned up illegal substances, some arrests, and other information used as part of the investigation.

“Bo would ‘hit’ on some of the vehicles I’d seen at the location, finding narcotics in the vehicles,” Keele said Friday afternoon. “We went ahead with some controlled buys, and then I was able to type up a search warrant.”

Keele said officers had their eyes on the property for about a month before they decided to show up and see what they could find Friday morning.

“When the SWAT team went up the [outside] stairs, the resident of the house, [Abilene L.] Lawhead, met them on the porch,” said Keele. “She was the only person I thought was going to be there.”

But three men were also at the home when officers arrived at about 7:30 a.m. Friday: John Hendrickson Jr., Michael J. Spears, and Matthew J. Wacoche, court records show.

Authorities found three one-pot meth labs during a search of the apartment.

“We also found all the precursors to make methamphetamine, and we found actual methamphetamine, along with tubing, syringes, and smoking devices,” said Keele.

Spears was allegedly in possession of two meth-filled syringes, and could face charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Aside from the endeavoring charges, Lawhead faces charges of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.

She was also wanted for a failure-to-pay warrant for furnishing alcohol to a person under the age of 21, court records show.

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