Meth lab busted in Cape Girardeau neighborhood; one man charged

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A nighttime tip led Cape Girardeau police to a methamphetamine lab operating in a quiet, middle class neighborhood on the west side of town.

At 10:30 p.m. Friday, an informant reported the lab at 3806 Valley View Lane to Cpl. Bradley Smith, a one-time narcotics investigator for the Cape Girardeau Police Department. He told Smith that Douglas D. Benton, 38, and several accomplices were actively making the dangerous drug in Benton's garage, Smith wrote in a sworn statement included with the charges filed against Benton.

As he investigated, Smith said he smelled ether, a common component of meth-making, and he heard a box fan blowing in the garage. Box fans are often used to ventilate the noxious fumes created during the meth process, Smith wrote.

Benton and another person, who has not been charged, answered a knock at the door, and Smith said he found a plastic bag containing marijuana in Benton's pocket. Benton was arrested, the man who has not been charged was handcuffed and a third person, a woman, was found in a basement area.

After obtaining a search warrant, officers found the ingredients and equipment for a meth lab, including muriatic acid and empty Sudafed packs. Officers also found more marijuana hidden in a basement office.

Benton faces a felony drug charge of manufacturing methamphetamine as well as misdemeanor charges for drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

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