Parents arrested, meth lab confiscated in police action
Police shut down a suspected east Medford methamphetamine lab Tuesday after a toddler who lives at the house was found wandering the streets.
A neighbor who saw the 3-year-old girl directed police to a rental home at the corner of Tripp and Ninth streets at about 1:30 p.m. While inspecting the house, a Medford officer noticed a power cord hanging from a pull-down stairway to the attic and smelled chemical fumes, said Medford police Lt. Tim George.
Narcotics investigators said they later found all the telltale signs of a working meth lab, including caustic household substances, boxes of cold tablets and old plastic pop bottles connected with tubing to distill the chemicals used to make meth. A Portland company is scheduled to clean up the site today, George said. The residence remains unlivable until it is cleared for habitation.
The suspected cook, Steven Clark Fuller Jr., 29, was lodged in the Jackson County Jail Tuesday on charges of manufacturing, delivering and possessing meth. Fuller's sister, Tasha Roxanne Fuller, 23, was charged with possession of meth and two counts each of first- and second-degree child neglect and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Tasha Fuller's two children were taken into protective custody. The older child, a 4-year-old boy who said he knew where to find the bad stuff, led officers to a shed full of chemicals in the home's carport, George said.
— Police said Steven Fuller told them that he was making enough meth to support his addiction, and those of his sister and his father, who also live at the Tripp Street house. They had not been charged as of late Tuesday. Fuller said he sold enough meth to buy his next batch of chemicals, said Medford police Detective Gary Hatten.
Finding a working meth lab in the middle of Medford has become somewhat unusual, George said. Chemicals and makeshift equipment used to manufacture the drug typically are seized from cars stopped for traffic violations. Meth cooks move their kitchens all over town to avoid detection, George said.
If you're putting it up in a house, then you're setting yourself up for the risk of discovery, George said.
Medford police in 2004 made 1,375 arrests in meth-related cases. The number increased since 2003 by about 100 such arrests, according to statistics gathered by the Medford Police Department.
Medford police took 11.6 pounds of the illegal drug off the street last year compared to slightly more than 10 pounds in 2003. The difference is equivalent to seizing an additional 1,500 hits of meth, George said.
Agents with the county's narcotics task force (JACNET) in 2003 confiscated about 50 pounds of meth, a record quantity.