Truck broke down, meth lab ran fine | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 12, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: October 11, 2017 at 11:40 am
A Dorchester County man found himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time, when members of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office arrived on Mars Oldfield Lane in a search for a wanted man.
Colleton County Sheriff R.A. Strickland and two other deputies went to the location on Oct. 4 shortly before 9 a.m. after receiving word that a suspect being sought on a burglary arrest warrant and Colleton Count Family Court bench warrant was seen there and might be staying in a camper on the property.
As the cruiser pulled onto the dirt driveway, the officers found a 1993 Dodge Dakota parked in their path. One man was in the front passenger seat of the truck. Two other males were outside the vehicle and standing near the driver’s side of the truck.
As the law enforcement officers exited their vehicle and began walking towards the camper to search for the wanted suspect, the man in the passenger seat got out of the truck.
As the law enforcement officers walked past the truck, one of them looked inside the vehicle and allegedly saw a plastic soft drink bottle on the floor board, its contents bubbling and pressurized. A second soft drink bottle with a rubber hose sticking out of the top was also on the floor board.
The officer’s training and experience led him to identify the bubbling container as what is commonly known as a “shake and bake” meth lab.
The potential for explosion sent the law enforcement officers back toward their cruiser, and the three males were told to back away from the truck and come to the patrol car.
As the officers were talking to the three men, a couple came out of the camper and began walking toward the truck. They were told to stay away from the truck.
Strickland called drug enforcement investigators with training on how to handle a mobile meth lab to respond the location.
The couple said they did not know anything about the meth lab. They said the man the deputies had been seeking had been there several days ago, but was not there now. They agreed to let the officers search the camper once it was safe to walk past the truck, and he wasn’t inside when the camper was searched.
Two of the three men who had been at the truck when the deputies arrived said the meth lab was not theirs — that the truck belonged to the third man.
That man said he was driving the truck when it broke down and he pulled into the dirt driveway. He allegedly admitted that the meth lab was his.
When the drug detectives arrived, they took over the investigation, contacting South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to request the disposal of the active meth lab.
They also took the truck’s owner, Michael Hecht, 39, of Ridgeville to jail on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine.