Searchers Tip leads to drug lab |

Searchers Tip leads to drug lab

Mark Louden/Steamboat Pilot

— An anonymous call put Routt County sheriff's investigators on the trail of a suspected drug lab last week.

And although weather made the trip longer than expected, they eventually arrived at their destination.

After bogging down in deep snow two days in a row, investigators finally seized equipment used in the manufacture of amphetamines. The suspected drug lab was located in a remote trailer near the Beaver Flat Top Mountains. No arrests have been made but warrants are pending.

The investigation into the suspected methamphetamine lab began feb. 9, when investigators received a tip about a clandestine laboratory operating somewhere in Routt County.

On Feb. 21, additional information narrowed the search to a 960-acre area near the Routt-Rio Blanco border, approximately 22es south of Hayden. Included in the information investigators received were production formulas and instructions.

A search warrant for the lab was obtained. Then, relying on the information they received earlier in the day, investigators set off on snowmobiles on the evening of feb 21. They were searching for a camper trailer that reportedly contained the drug-making equipment.

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However, the search was called off due to snow, rain, wind and darkness.

On Thursday, Feb. 22, investigators tried to search the 960-acre area near Routt County Road 55, but were turned back because of the weather.

During one of the attempts, a snowmobile got stuck and had to be left overnight.

Sheriff's investigator Paul Pirnat said when the searchers would get off their sleds they found themselves in waist deep snow.

But on Friday, Feb. 23, Routt County Search and Rescue came to the aid of the sheriff's office and allowed investigators to use a tracked Thiokol vehicle, similar to a snowcat.

Clear weather and the search and rescue vehicle helped investigators find the 12-foot by 6-foot trailer in a grove of aspen trees. The trailer was near RCR 55, approximately 5 miles south of RCR 29.

Investigators found methamphetamine production chemicals and several hundred dollars worth of glassware used to make the drug. Methamphetamine is commonly known as speed.

Pirnat said at least two arrest warrants are pending and maybe as many as four.