Stolen electricity tips sheriff’s office to huge East County meth lab

Based on what deputies found, meth is still being produced in outer East Portland, sometimes in a BIG way! Read this story and learn the details

They weren’t growing crops on this farm! The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office says evidence found inside the barn indicates a large-scale meth factory was in operation.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Out in this area of unincorporated area of outer southeast Multnomah County, things are pretty quiet. Usually, the only things stolen are lawn ornaments.

But after seeing their electric bill jump to over $300, an area resident in the 7600 block of SE 162nd Ave. questioned whether or not their electric power was being siphoned off.

In the process of investigation a “theft of service” claim on October 11, Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputies took down a huge methamphetamine lab.

A ‘look’ leads to a major bust
In an exclusive interview with East PDX News, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Lt. Jason Gates told us how this meth bust unfolded.

“At 1 PM on Wednesday, PGE notified our office they were going to check a property in the southeast corner of the county for power diversion, or electrical theft. Four MSCO detectives from our Special Investigation Unit detectives went with PGE officials to the site.”

Gates told us as detectives went on the property of the suspected power thieves; they met Shane Dupree Millim, who would later be taken into custody.

“Millim was cooperative, and gave us permission to search the property,” Gates related.

A shocking find
In addition to finding evidence of power theft, deputies were shocked to discover the largest suspected meth lab they say they’ve seen this year. They also found car body parts believed to be stolen from a Toyota 4-runner.

“We discovered chemical items, strong corrosives materials, flammable liquids and reactive solids generally associated to meth manufacturing,” Gates told us. “The indication is that this lab was producing meth using the standard pseudoephedrine reduction method.”

The precursors and the waste products indicate large-scale meth production, Gates stated. “There were enough materials to do multi-pound reactions. If they weren’t making large batches, the waste materials could have been collected from other, smaller labs.”

In addition, deputies also saw a set-up of laboratory-style glasswork typically used in meth production.

These signs were posted on the house and barn after the Haz-Mat team processed and cleaned up some of the chemicals found inside.

Deputies called in the Gresham/Multnomah County Haz-Mat team to assess the suspected lab, take samples for prosecution, and begin the cleanup process.

Lab busts down
“This is only the eighth lab we’ve closed this year,” Gates summarized. “This is significantly down from 2004 when we closed 60 labs.”

“Does this mean the meth problem is waning in outer East Portland?” we asked.

Gates responded, “The meth problem is alive and well, but we are having a positive impact regarding meth labs. What we face today is “super lab” meth coming in now. Most of it is from the Mexican cartels. They bring it here by the pound instead of the ounce.”

In addition to Millim, two other suspects–Patricia Ann Pyne and Billy Joe Allen–were arrested and released, pending a grand jury hearing.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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