TOOELE — Capable of producing 5 to 7 pounds — or more than $250,000 worth of methamphetamine — per cooking session, one of the largest methamphetamine labs the city has ever seen was taken down late Monday afternoon.
A routine traffic stop by a Tooele County Sheriff's deputy turned into a tip for Tooele police, who responded to information that a meth lab was about ready to be moved from a vacant building in an industrial park on the city's north side. Armed with a search warrant, a county/city SWAT team moved in about 5 p.m. and found a lab Tooele City Police Chief Ron Kirby called "the biggest one we've ever had" in terms of its size.
No one was in the building during the raid, but police have at least two suspects they are seeking and say they might be two weeks away from an arrest.
It's possible, police say, the lab may be tied to last week's arrests of a man, 27, and a woman, 35, after they were chased in an old motor home by U.S. marshals and other local agencies. The fugitives were suspected of being among the state's major meth producers. Meth-making equipment was found in the motor home. A third person suspected of being linked to the two arrested last Wednesday was caught the following day.
"I think it's reflective of the meth problem in our society, not just in Tooele," said Mayor Charlie Roberts. "It will make a big dent in the problem we have in our community."