By JOSH NEWTON
More than two dozen “shake-and-bake” methamphetamine labs were discovered by investigators Wednesday evening at a home between Watts and West Siloam Springs.
Members of the District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force teamed up with authorities from District 13’s District Attorney’s Office, West Siloam, Watts, and Westville after receiving tips that meth was possibly being made in the home.
District 27 Investigator Chris Goforth went to the residence, along with other officers, and saw a meth generator – a Sprite bottle with a funnel connected to it – at the end of the driveway leading to the home.
Goforth looked through the items near the entrance, while other officers approached people in the back yard of the home.
“I went back up and started speaking to the homeowner and told him I didn’t want to be speaking to him outside if the lab was going to catch fire in the house, and he told me it would not catch fire,” said Goforth. “The homeowner then told us we needed to get a search warrant. You could smell the chemicals coming from the house, and we were told there was an individual inside the house, so we went to get him out of the house.”
That 53-year-old man was hiding behind a door in a bedroom, according to Goforth, with a shake-and-bake bottle in his hand.
“The guy hiding in the back room with the meth lab ended up going to the hospital for difficulty breathing,” said Goforth. “I have asked for a warrant to be issued for his arrest.”
Authorities secured the house and waited to receive a search warrant. The man living in the home, 37-year-old Gary Wayne Woods, was arrested and booked for manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance, maintaining a place where a controlled dangerous substance is kept or sold, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also booked on a complaint of child endangerment.
“There was a 17-year-old boy inside the house sleeping,” said Goforth. “He woke up when his eyes started burning.”
Once authorities were able to search the home, they found an ice chest full of meth lab equipment – tubes, salts, funnels, two-layer liquids, Drano, and blister packs – and receipts matching surveillance footage from Walmart, where the 53-year-old man allegedly bought some of the materials the previous day.
A pillowcase in one bedroom was filled with meth-related products, and authorities also found a laundry basket filled with items. A trash can on the front porch of the home had a meth lab inside it, Goforth said.
“We collected a total of 29 shake-and-bake labs, but three of them were considered abandoned,” said Goforth.
According to the investigator, Woods and the 53-year-old suspect are blaming each other for the products discovered at the home.
Goforth said Woods has recently been blocked several times when he tried to purchase more pseudoephedrine than is allowed by state law.
“Tips we received said there was a lot of traffic coming in and out of that home,” said Goforth. “I have cell phones that show they were trying to sell some [meth].”
Woods has been booked into jail in Adair County with no bond, according to Goforth.