Webster deputies crack down on clandestine lab
Tips from concerned citizens often pay off, and one received recently by Webster Parish deputies put an end to a meth cook's kitchen in south Webster Parish.
Mark Allen Wiggins, 48, of the 300 block of Art Camp Road, Heflin, was arrested Monday night and charged with six counts of creation of a clandestine lab, possession of CDS Sch. II (methamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia, illegal weapons and illegal carrying of weapons.
Capt. Robert Hayden and deputies Joel Thomas and Bobby Igo, III with Community Action Direct (CAD)/Narcotics received the information regarding the meth lab and contacted Wiggins at his residence.
"We got the tip and first went to the residence to talk to Wiggins and he wasn't there," Hayden said. "We found some meth lab components at the front door. We waited until we knew he was home and went back down there and talked to him – advised him of his Miranda rights."
Wiggins reportedly granted the officers consent to enter and search his residence.
"The search revealed several items consistant with a clandestine lab – six functional 'shake-and-bake' labs, four of which were still smoking – and drug paraphernalia, such as spoons, tin foil and burnt lightbulbs used to smoke the meth."
Deputies also found a "break-barrel" shotgun with the barrel cut to approximately 13 inches and a round in the chamber.
"Hazmat was contacted to dispose of and clean up the site," Hayden said.
Wiggins was booked and transported to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. Bond has not been set.
"Community involvement made the difference in this arrest," said Chief Deputy Bobby Igo, Jr. "It wasn't a fast-moving investigation – it took some time, but we take every bit of information we get seriously and investigate. This (arrest) is a direct result of intelligence we gained from the community."
Igo said identities of tipsters and the information given is kept strictly confidential, and citizens should feel safe confiding in any Webster Parish Sheriff's deputy.
"When the public tells us something, we keep it confidential," Igo said. "We follow up on every lead we get, and even though some of them are slower than others, we take it seriously and appreciate it and want them to continue to give us information. The deputy will take that information and pass it on to an investigator, and we will get on it immediately. Sometimes it just takes time."