A joint effort between the Texas County Sheriff’s Department and the Houston Police Department led to multiple arrests and the discovery of a meth lab Wednesday.
The scenario began before noon when the police department requested assistance from the sheriff’s department in making a felony arrest of Daniel K. Labbee, 27, of Houston, on a parole violation. After receiving a tip indicating that Labbee had been seen at Walmart, police determined he was in a vehicle at McDonald’s.
After the vehicle exited the McDonald’s parking lot, police and sheriff’s officers made a coordinated traffic stop at the intersection of South Sam Houston Blvd. and Holder Drive in Houston, and Labbee was taken into custody without incident. Three other people in the car were identified and questioned, and a day-long investigation involving police and sheriff’s officers blossomed that led to the arrest of another man wanted on a parole violation and the cracking of the meth case.
The other man arrested was Russell D. Larue, 25, also of Houston, who was located at a trailer court on U.S. 63 north of Houston. But investigation also produced information about a methamphetamine ring, and parts of a lab were recovered at two locations.
One person was arrested in connection with the lab and charges are pending, while five others are under investigation for conspiracy to manufacture meth.
“The investigation ran us all over parts of the county,” sheriff’s department Lt. Melissa Dunn said. “We went out past Sand Shoals, different places on Highway 17 and, of course, at the trailer court. We went to several locations to follow up on information and leads we were getting.”
Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell said conversations at multiple residences within the trailer court helped.
“A knock-and-talk was done at two residences,” McNiell said. “There was a lot of good police work done in this case, and it’s great when agencies work together like we did.”
Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson concurred.
“It’s a good day for law enforcement when agencies can work together and have such a positive outcome,” Watson said.
One of the suspects in the conspiracy case reportedly told deputies that several people were involved in the purchasing of cold pills as manufacturing ingredients, who would in turn sell them to the “cook” for a $20 profit. Dunn credited the National Precursor Log Exchange system for helping crack the case, which keeps electronic records of all pseudoephedrine purchases.
“We can verify information we get on the pill list,” Dunn said. “It’s a great tool for us to use, and having to sign your name when you buy cold pills is a small price for the public to pay to help get these people off the streets. It works.”
After their arrests, Larue (who has a long history of charges in Texas County dating back to 2005) and Labbee (also a repeat offender in the county) were both taken to the Texas County Jail. Both were re-entered into the Missouri Department of Corrections system on Thursday morning.
Watson said investigation of the meth case will likely continue for several weeks and should result in several more arrests.