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More details to be released in Jefferson Co. meth lab bust

By: WJAC Web Staff

WARSAW TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- State police said three people are in prison for allegedly making and selling meth in Jefferson County and are focusing on combating smurfing as part of meth investigations.

State police at Punxsutawney arrested three people Thursday after the methamphetamine lab was found in a garage along the 9000 block of Richardsville Road in Warsaw Township, investigators said.

Police arrested Michael Andrew Novak, 22, April Ann Novak, 43, both of Brookville, and Dean William Paige, 52, of Blacklick, for allegedly running the meth-making operation.

Police said their investigation into meth distribution in the Brookville area began in August and, through their investigation with the Jefferson County Drug Task Force, the three were pinpointed for allegedly making and distributing the drug through the county.

All three were placed in the Jefferson County Jail on $50,000 bail on outstanding warrants.

Troopers warned about the dangers of making meth, because the cooking process that involves using chemicals that emit deadly gases, or the risk of explosions.

Police said the most common meth making process begins with people buying over-the-counter cold medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

In 2005, laws were enacted to place limits on the number of medications a person could buy with those ingredients, but state police said meth makers are circumventing those laws through a process known as smurfing.

Smurfing is arranging a number of individuals to purchase cold medications until enough are acquired to cook a batch of meth, police said. Officers are able to trace who is buying and how much is purchased, and patterns are easily recognizable for investigations.

Police also warned residents that if anyone comes in contact materials such as camping fuel, drain cleaners or similar items found in a boxes, coolers or plastic bottles in areas they normally wouldnt be, these could be out-of-place meth lab items and people should move away from those items and contact authorities.

Police said meth labs also pose danger to first responders and its important for those in medical services and firefighters to know how to recognize a meth lab or meth making materials in the event theyre encountered while at a scene of a call.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times