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Sheriff's department makes three arrests after busting meth lab

A drug bust in Hartford, a little over a half-hour outside Kalamazoo, has led to three arrests. Detectives from Van Buren County Sheriff's Office searched two homes on the same street on the morning of Dec. 12. One of the homes contained a meth lab.

Police found equipment used to make meth, including HCL gas generators, a meth reaction vessel and chemicals. The suspect, a 36-year-old man, was arrested on several meth charges, including maintaining a drug house and methamphetamine production and distribution.

Inside the second home, detectives found meth paraphernalia. Two people were arrested for outstanding warrants and parole violations. A 19-year-old, who was also inside the home, was found with a small amount of meth. She was not arrested at the time but could still face criminal charges as police continue to investigate.

When a person is accused of drug possession, there are several defenses that can be used. Sometimes police engage in unlawful search and seizure. Homeowners have rights to prevent unlawful searches, which is why police must generally obtain search warrants before entering people's homes.

A person accused of possession of methamphetamines can also say that the drugs do not belong to him or her. Just because police found meth in an apartment does not necessarily mean that it belongs to the person who lives there or even to anyone who is there at the apartment when police search it. Someone could have stashed it a while back.

Another defense is that the alleged meth needs to be tested. Meth is often in a powder form, which means that flour or another powdery substance can be erroneously mistaken for meth. A crime lab must confirm that what the police seized is in fact meth before pressing charges.

Source: Kalamazoo Gazette, "3 Van Buren County residents arrested after meth bust in Hartford," Aaron Mueller, Dec. 12, 2012

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