Child welfare check leads to meth arrests

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- For the second time in less than a week, authorities found evidence of suspected methamphetamine production in a Poplar Bluff home after officers attempted to check on the welfare of the children living there.

Detective Corey Mitchell and a Missouri Children's Division worker were attempting to check on the welfare of the two children living at a home in the city, according to chief Danny Whiteley.

"Corey had information on [Dennis W. King] in the past" and was "familiar with him from past narcotics investigations," Whiteley said. "I received separate information concerning a meth lab at this residence."

Mitchell, Whiteley said, contacted the children's mother, Ashley E. Morris, by telephone at a location away from her home.

"She wouldn't come to the house, so Corey put together a search warrant affidavit, which was obtained" and executed at about 3:45 p.m. Monday, Whiteley said.

King and Morris, he said, arrived home just before the execution of the warrant.

"After entry was made into the home, we found numerous items related to the manufacture, use and sale of methamphetamine," Whiteley said.

The items were found in what Whiteley described as a small room in the home's basement.

"Inside the small room was a closet with a padlock on it," Whiteley said. "In both locations [small room and closet] were reaction vessels and tubing.

Whiteley said there had been "some cooks going on there. We found some finished product and numerous remnants of a prior cook."

Mitchell said the girls, ages 2 and 7, are in protective custody and are staying with their grandparents.

King, 31, and Morris, 27, were arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, manufacture of a controlled substance and two counts of first-degree child endangerment. They were booked at the Butler County jail.

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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