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Two men charged with running Coaldale methamphetamine lab

Published June 21. 2012 05:02PM

A Weissport man and a Coaldale man face drug-related charges stemming from an alleged methamphetamine manufacturing operation in Coaldale.

Vincent Anthony Keller, 27, of 222 White St., Weissport, is charged with criminal conspiracy, possession of liquified ammonia gasses used in the manufacture of methamphetamine; possession of counterfeit substances by an unauthorized person; and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia.

Ricky R. Burns, 19, of 40 E. Ridge St., is charged with possession of liquified ammonia gasses; possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia; possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of counterfeit substances by an unauthorized person; and criminal conspiracy.

Both men were arraigned before District Judge Stephen Bayer of Tamaqua. Keller is being held in Schuylkill County Prison, Pottsville, under $25,00 percentage bail; Burns was released on his own recognizance.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, here's what happened:

At about 2 p.m. April 11, a Tiffany Burns came into the police station to say that her former boyfriend, Keller, was making methamphetamine in the garage of her mother's house at 40 E. Ridge St.

In a written statement to police, she said she told Keller to stop it, but that he made the drug after household members had gone to bed.

This had been going on for three or four weeks, Burns told police. She said Keller had household members go out to buy over-the-counter antihistamine pills, an ingredient of the drug.

At 3:30 p.m. that day, Chief Tim Delaney and Investigator Todd Weiss went to the house and spoke with Burns' mother, Suzanne Burns, and asked her for permission to search the garage. As they searched, Suzanne was present, and Delaney asked her if she had known Keller was making methamphetamine. She admitted to having gone to a local drugstore to buy antihistamines for him.

She said that yes, she did know, and that she had seen him making it at one point and told him to get the stuff out of her garage.

Delaney noticed that two young children, no older than two years, were playing in the yard on the west side of the garage, near a white substance, waste from drug-making process that had been thrown on the ground.

The garage search turned up items with traces of methamphetamine on them.

As police searched, Ricky Burns, Suzanne's son, who also lives at 40 E. Ridge, pointed out a garbage bag near the side of the house. The bag, he told police, contained stuff used to make methamphetamine. Ricky Burns also told police he, too, had bought antihistamine for Keller, and had helped him throw out meth waste from the garage and from his mother's vehicle. He gave police a written statement after being read his Miranda rights, saying that he had dumped two garbage bags of meth waste in the woods along Route 902 in Summit Hill about two weeks ago. He also said that Keller had thrown a backpack into the same woods from the vehicle in which they were riding. He took police to the areas where the garbage bags and backpack were dumped.

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