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Authorities say suspected meth operation busted

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Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:53 pm | Updated: 12:13 pm, Mon May 13, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Authorities seized a suspected methamphetamine lab at a Noble Street home Monday, part of a day-long raid of the house that was spurred by a public tip.

The Alaska State Troopers Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit was at the home at 1458 Noble St. from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m., using a search warrant to look for meth-making ingredients on the premises. An extensive search of the home didn’t turn up any drugs inside but did uncover suspicious ingredients outside the building, troopers spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said.

The “lab” was modest — it was contained in a Mason jar, which contained liquid, powder and round balls of an unspecified material. Authorities believe the jar contains the ingredients to make meth and have sent the mixture off to the state crime lab for confirmation.

Ipsen said the operation was small but significant enough to make five to 10 ounces of processed meth. It was dismantled with the help of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Police Department and the Fairbanks North Star Borough Hazmat team.

No one was home at the time of the raid, and no arrests have been made, Ipsen said. She said it’s not uncommon for arrests in such cases to wait until meth-making ingredients have been analyzed and confirmed and that the case remains under investigation.

Finding such tiny meth operations is becoming more common. Meth lab operations in Alaska generally have become smaller in recent years, as tighter restrictions on some of the ingredients have made production more difficult, Ipsen said.

“That’s what we’re finding a lot,” she said. “They’re outdoors, they’re in a box and they’re portable.”

While the number of meth arrests and lab discoveries has remained fairly stable in recent years, the amount of meth being seized has declined significantly. According to troopers, 45.7 pounds of meth was seized in 2009, followed by 4.5 pounds in 2010 and 6.2 pounds in 2011.

Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518.

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