RALEIGH — Detectives had been watching a house where they suspected a meth lab was operating and were doing the paperwork needed to get a search warrant when they had to quickly warn uniformed officers, who were being sent to the home on a call about a domestic dispute, that they might be about to walk into a chemical hazard, according to a search warrant in the case.
The officers stayed outside the one-story, single-family home set amid pine trees and waited for detectives.
When police went into the building, they wrote, they found and seized equipment for a “one-pot” methamphetamine manufacturing lab, plastic coveralls and gloves, cold medicine used in making the drug and drain cleaner that also can be used in the process.
A Crime Stoppers tip had turned narcotics detectives’ attention to 5129 Melbourne Road, they said in the search warrant made public Friday.
They had watched the house, seen cars coming and going at night and watched a man act nervously when he wheeled trash to the curb just as a city trash truck driven by an undercover police officer was going down the street. The man then quickly put the bin back behind the house when the officer told him the truck was broken and someone would have to come by later.
People making methamphetamine, detectives said in justifying the search warrant, are often nervous about leaving any trash at the curb, which is a public place.
Detectives said they had officers in marked police cars stop two vehicles that had been seen leaving the house and committed traffic violations. Drugs were found in both cars, they said, and detectives questioned the drivers about the Melbourne Road house.
One of the drivers told police that meth was being made there as recently as two weeks earlier, according to the warrant.
Detectives, who had been watching for two days, were at their office preparing their application for the search warrant when they heard the uniformed officers being sent to the address.
Because meth labs can be volatile, detectives warned the officers and hurried to get the warrant.
Police also arrested Jason Shane Harris, 38, who lived at the house, and charged him with possession of precursor materials for making meth, making it, and maintaining a dwelling to keep drugs.
He was being held Friday in the Wake County Detention Center in lieu of a $150,000 bond and has a court appearance scheduled later this month, Wake County Sheriff’s Office records show.
The Crime Stoppers program lets people give police information anonymously and can lead to cash rewards for the informants, who are identified by a number rather than a name.