A man and his girlfriend were arrested Wednesday morning in Midway when agents from the Multi Agency Crack Enforcement team reportedly found an active methamphetamine lab in a home in the 100 block of Hollingsworth Boulevard. Two toddlers also were found in the home.
In a phone interview Wednesday, MACE Agent Lt. Jeff Hein said agents from the team had been assisting probation agents in a parole violations case at a home down the street from where the meth lab was found. As agents helped probation officers search for narcotics, Jason Finch, who lives up the block from where the agents were working, allegedly spotted the agents and decided to move a working methamphetamine lab from his home to the trunk of his 1995 Mercury Cougar. Hein said Finch’s home actually had been under surveillance for some time.
Finch, who, Hein said, had a warrant out for his arrest in connection with an ongoing investigation in Richmond Hill, reportedly pulled his vehicle to the side of the mobile home — out of the agents’ sight — and allegedly began to move the lab into the trunk of his car.
According to Hein, agents did not see him move the lab but went to arrest him on the warrant. When agents struck up a conversation with Finch’s girlfriend, April Owen, at the door, they reportedly noticed a strong chemical odor and detected a white haze inside the residence, which tipped them off to the presence of a meth lab.
Agents arrested Owen, removed her boys, both younger than 3, from the residence and called for emergency medical personnel, who responded and transported the family to a decontamination site.
Meanwhile, Hein said, a section of Hollingsworth Boulevard was closed to vehicles and pedestrians because agents were concerned the volatile chemicals in the meth lab and the hot utensils near the vehicle’s gas tank would explode.
Hein would not go into detail about the investigation because it’s still open.
Both Finch and Owen have been charged with one count each of the manufacture of methamphetamine and possession and two counts of cruelty to children. They are being held at the Liberty County Jail.