Comments Off on Couple is accused of operating Meraux meth lab

A Texas woman and an Alabama man were arrested Tuesday, accused of operating a methamphetamine lab in a recreational vehicle in a Meraux Trailer Park, the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

A small amount of methamphetamine and precursors used to make the drug were recovered after sheriff’s narcotics agents, acting on a tip by phone, set up surveillance and got information to obtain a warrant to search the RV.

Rhonda Ritchie of Texas, no age or hometown available, was booked with manufacturing methamphetamine, the sheriff’s office said. James Howell Jr., 39, of Alabama, no hometown available, was booked on a charge of creating or operating a clandestine meth lab.

Both had jobs in St. Bernard Parish and were living in the RV, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Both Ritchie and Howell had to be decontaminated in a portable center set up at the scene by the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department before they could be taken to the prison in Chalmette.

It was the first time since before Hurricane Katrina that anyone has been caught manufacturing meth in St. Bernard, the Sheriff’s Office said. A man was booked last December while preparing to set up a lab in a building in Arabi.

Narcotics agents and Street Crimes Unit officers from the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division and several narcotics officers from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office participated in the dismantling of the meth lab in the RV, Sheriff Jack Stephens said.

State Police also took part in the investigation and the company U.S. Environmental Services was involved in clean-up at the scene.

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