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By Tracy Steffenson
On June 3, 2011 the District 17 Drug Task Force served a search warrant on the home of Dustin Hunter in Rattan. Upon entering the dwelling Deputy Wilkerson found Hunter in the back yard and Dana Mitchell standing on a trail behind the residence. Deputy Wilkerson removed two loaded hand guns off of Hunterâ€™s person and then Hunter was served with a search warrant.
Upon searching the shed close to where Hunter was served the warrant, law enforcement found a camouflage bag with many items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine (ice crystals, mason jars, Coleman fuel, coffee filters, cold pack, muritic acid, plastic hoses with white residue). In the bedroom there was a large number of firearms and three glass smoking devices.
Drug Task Force Agent Hedgecock spoke with Mitchell and she said that she was currently living in the residence because Hunter had back surgery and she was helping him with house work and cooking. Hedgecock asked her if the female clothing and baby items in the north bedroom were hers and she responded yes. Hedgecock asked her what she was doing down behind the house in the dark and she told me that they had burned some trash because her daughter had an accident earlier that day.
Agent Hedgecock spoke to Hunter about the findings. Hunter stated that the lab was not his but he allowed someone else to cook there for part of the meth. Hedgecock then asked him about the pipes in the room and he told the officer that he used the meth for his back pain because the pills were not working. Hedgecock also asked him why he had two guns on him and he stated it was because of the snakes and informed Hedgecock that his probation would be up on June 13th. Hedgecock then asked Hunter what Mitchell was doing down behind the house and he stated that she was checking the potatoes.
Hedgecock then walked over to where Mitchell was standing when the warrant was served and found a black bag that had been thrown under a trailer. The bag contained numerous used glass meth pipes, plastic bag with a powder inside (which field tested positive for meth) a set of digital gram scales and a Orcschenâ€™s reward card.
Behind where Hunter had told the office that the potatoes were planted Hedgecock found a white bucket that contained a HCL generator that was in operation and still gassing off into a glass cup. Next to the bucket was a bottle that appeared to be onepot methamphetamine lab.
On both individualâ€™s (Hunter & Mitchell) cell phones where text messages. On Mitchellâ€™s there was a message asking if they had any they wanted to get rid of. On Hunterâ€™s there were messages that appeared to be asking people to get items that are known to be used to manufacture meth. All items collected were properly sealed and transported to the Drug Task Force evidence locker.
Hunter is being charged with Manufacturing of CDS/Possession of Material with the Intent to Manufacture (Felony); Unlawfully possession of a Controlled Drug with intent to Distribute (Felony); Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony (Felony); Maintaining Place for Keeping /Selling Controlled Substance (Felony); Conspiracy (Felony); and Unlawfully Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Misdemeanor).
If convicted, Hunter could face over $85,000 in fines and up to life in prison. A bond was set of $150,000.00 and Hunter will face his preliminary hearing on June 29, 2011.
Mitchell is facing the following charges: Manufacturing of CDS/Possession of Material with the Intent to Manufacture (Felony); Unlawfully possession of a Controlled Drug (Felony); Conspiracy (Felony) and Unlawfully Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Misdemeanor).
Mitchell could face over $75,000.00 in fines and up to life in prison. A bond was set in the amount of $75,000.00 and Mitchell will face her preliminary hearing on June 29, 2011 also.