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Suspected meth lab raided in Tamaqua

  • KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS Members of the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Lab Response Team prepare to enter a suspected meth lab at 29 E. Elm St., Tamaqua.
    KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS Members of the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Lab Response Team prepare to enter a suspected meth lab at 29 E. Elm St., Tamaqua.
Published February 01. 2014 09:00AM

For the second time in slightly more than a month, the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Lab Response Team traveled to Tamaqua to dismantle a suspected methamphetamine lab. This time, the suspect facility was located at 29 E. Elm St., an apartment building that came to the attention of Tamaqua Police several months ago.

Acting on tips from citizens, Tamaqua Patrolmen Anthony Stanell and Thomas Rodgers began an investigation, complete with surveillance and help from confidential informants.

On Friday, assisted by Pennsylvania State Trooper Ron Kazakavage, his K-9 partner Rommy, Rush Township Police Sgt. Duane Frederick and Coaldale Patrolman Charles Blesse, officers moved in, executing a search warrant issued by District Judge Stephen Bayer. Six people were removed from the home.

What they found inside apartment No. 2 required the aid of the PSP team. The block was sealed off for almost three hours as the lab team donned the required safety gear, established a hot zone, searched the apartment and then neutralized the hazardous materials they found.

Confiscated items include: a two liter bottle containing white solids, Coleman bottled fuel, a digital scale, bottles of drain opener, butane fuel, an electric grinder with white residue, lithium batteries, boxes of Sudafed and decongestants, plastic cups containing cloudy fluids, a plastic bottle with pink residue, coffee filters with powder chunks and residue, plastic tubing, a glass pipe, 37 packages of suspected heroin, seven bags of suspected methamphetamine, a large quantity of hypodermic needles and $1,637 in cash.

Late Friday afternoon, the apartment renter on record, Jacqueline Slaven, 38, was arraigned before District Judge Stephen J. Bayer, whose office is in Tamaqua, on charges of manufacture of methamphetamine, manufacture of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of controlled substances, possession of heroin with intent to sell, possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and recklessly endangering the welfare of a child (Slaven's seven year old child resides in the apartment).

Several of the other people found in the home at the time of the raid face misdemeanor charges related to drugs or paraphernalia.

Judge Bayer set bail at $50,000 straight cash bond. Slaven was then transported to the Schuylkill County Prison in Pottsville by Tamaqua Police.

The defendant was previously charged in connection with a meth lab in Lansford. In that May 19, 2013, incident, she was charged with conspiracy to operating a methamphetamine lab (two counts); recklessly endangering another person; risking a catastrophe; endangering the welfare of children (three counts); possession of materials with intent to manufacture a controlled substance; and hindering the prosecution of Tyler Strawdinger (suspected meth lab operator).

She has yet to face trial on those charges.

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