Wabasha man sought in meth lab investigation


The Wabasha County Sheriff's Office found the fifteenth meth lab of 2003 on Thursday Dec. 18, at a residence on a rural route in Hammond, Minn.

Detectives received information that 27-year-old James Edward Riley had been "cooking" meth on his parents' property just outside of Hammond. The detectives got a search warrant and entered a building on the residence that contained the following: a book entitled "Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture," fans, coffee filters with residue of white powder that tested positive for meth, baggies, 2 portable police scanners, several containers that tested positive for ammonia, and also over several grams of finished meth along with many other items relating to the manufacturing of methamphetamine. According to detectives, this was by far the largest operation they have seen in quite some time.

Detectives expect several other co-conspirators to be charged eventually from this case.

The amount of meth labs and meth possession arrests in Wabasha County has resulted in an increase of 145% of drug related inmates. Also, in addition to the 15 labs the county has seen, there have been numerous dump sites that have been found that need to be cleaned up.

At this time the Wabasha County Sheriff's Office has a felony arrest warrant out for James Riley for the manufacture of methamphetamine. If anyone has information as to his whereabouts please call 651-565-3361. No names need to be given and callers can remain totally anonymous.

Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsh said, "This has been an extremely taxing year on our department as far as the meth labs go. We are extremely pleased that this lab was found and dismantled. Where the people go to now is another question. This is a sickness that has no proven cure for yet.

"It has taken many people with a purpose in life and turned them into people with no purpose at all other than to find their next gram of meth. It's sad, but it's a reality. We will keep trying."


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