By Ryan Gueningsman
MAPLE PLAIN, MN Two Independence men were arrested following the discovery of a methamphetamine lab in a vehicle that pulled into Olsen’s Market in Maple Plain as an officer was refueling a squad car April 28, just after noon.
Earl Lawrence Sanders, 48, and Harvey Orval Stumpf, 27, both of Independence, were taken into custody and are facing charges.
A West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS) officer was refueling a squad car at Olson’s Market in Maple Plain and noticed a vehicle pulled in towing another vehicle on a dolly, according to WHPS.
A routine check of the license plate revealed the owner had a suspended driver’s license and a warrant for his arrest, according to WHPS.
The vehicle was stopped and Sanders, who was driving, was arrested. In speaking with Sanders, officers noted he was very nervous and jittery, and he said he had been staying with his girlfriend, who is Stumpf’s mother, for the last two weeks.
A search of the vehicle revealed an overwhelming odor of ammonia.
“The officers knew from training and experience that this can indicate a methamphetamine lab,” commented WHPS Director Ray McCoy. “Drug paraphernalia, containers, and other items were located that confirmed the presence of a methamphetamine lab.”
The West Metro Drug Task Force (WMDTF) was called to assist and they were assisted by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for examination and clean up.
The DEA has confirmed that chemicals in at least one container contained anhydrous ammonia and amphetamine, which were actively “cooking” in order to make methamphetamine, according to WHPS.
A search warrant was later executed by the WMDTF at the Independence residence where Sanders and Stumpf were living and coming from, according to WHPS. No further methamphetamine was located, but numerous items of drug paraphernalia were seized.
“This is an extremely dangerous circumstance to the public, which was revealed and dismantled by the efforts of WHPS, our local drug task force, and the DEA,” McCoy said. “Methamphetamine labs are extremely volatile, and the by-product of the chemicals that the suspects use can be very dangerous to the public and police officers who may come into contact with them. We are extremely pleased to have arrested these criminals and removed this mobile meth lab from the streets of Maple Plain and Independence.”
Sanders and Stumpf were arrested and transported to Hennepin County Jail for booking.