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POLICE STUMBLE ONTO DRUG LAB, LARGEST FOUND IN UTAH IN A YEAR

Narcotics agents Monday seized what they said is the largest operating methamphetamine laboratory found in Utah since February 1993. The lab was in a home in Hooper, a rural community in northwest Davis County.

Bountiful police Lt. Bill Collard, the unit commander for the Davis County Metro Narcotics Strike Force, said the lab was found by Lon Brian, a former strike force undercover agent now back on duty as a Davis County sheriff's detective.Brian was investigating a reported rape at a home, 5171 W. 1925 North, in Hooper when he found evidence of the lab in the home's basement and garage, according to Collard.

Agent Greg Krusi of the strike force reported a quarter pound of finished amphetamine product, valued at $3,000, was found along with enough chemicals to make another $20,000 worth of finished amphetamines.

The lab had apparently been operating since last spring, Collard said, and the amphetamine product being produced is described as high quality.

Because the chemicals - called precursors - used to manufacture amphetamine are unstable and explosive, the strike force called in the federal DEA's laboratory dismantling team to dispose of the equipment and toxic chemicals, Collard said.

A resident of the house, Thomas Hoose Jr., 35, was booked into the Davis County Jail on charges of arranging for the manufacture of amphetamines, a second-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a second-degree felony; and possession of a controlled substance without state drug stamps, a third-degree felony.