SE Portland meth lab discovery surprises law enforcement

See how neighbors played a vital role in getting this suspected “dope cooker” and dealer off this very residential street …

The only way one would know that police had raided a suspected methamphetamine lab in this house is their sticker on the door.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Even though the nice-looking home on SE 72nd Avenue looks well-kept – including flowers planted along the front of the home – for some time, neighbors have suspected something shady has been going on there.

“An investigation began a few weeks ago when the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) began receiving complaints about the residence possibly being involved in some type of drug activity,” said police spokesperson Detective Mary Wheat.

PPB Neighborhood Response Team officers followed up neighbors’ complaints, Wheat told us, and asked for help from the Drug & Vice Division. Armed with a search warrant, officers entered the home at 4706 SE 72nd Avenue – a tree-lined boulevard between SE Foster Road and SE Holgate Boulevard – on January 14.

Officials removed most of this sticker after police and fire HazMat crews dismantled what they believe is a meth lab.

While they had been expecting to find drugs and related paraphernalia, offices were astonished to find what they described as a “boxed” methamphetamine (“meth”) lab, ready to be transported, Wheat said. “The lab was not operating at the time the warrant was served. But still, we haven’t seen a meth lab in a few years, so it was a real surprise to discover it.”

The Drugs and Vice Division’s Meth Lab Team responded to the location, and dismantled the lab with the assistance of the Portland Fire & Rescue’s HazMat team.

Two subjects were arrested and charged during the execution of the search warrant, Wheat added.

These two individuals were arrested in the incident: 41-year-old John Thede, and 30-year-old Brooke Finck.

41-year-old John Thede was charged with one count of Manufacturing a Controlled Substance (meth), and 30-year-old Brooke Finck was arrested on an outstanding warrant for Forgery. Both of these subjects were taken to the Multnomah County Jail.

“This is the result of alert neighbors working with police to help improve their neighborhood,” Wheat observed. “This is definitely good work on their part, and all of the Bureau’s divisions as well.”

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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