Written by Don Ratzlaff Wednesday, 06 February 2008 13:29
A gloved officer holds a coffee filter containing meth collected at the Orcutt residence in Peabody.
A relatively new state law that requires retail outlets to register the identity of people who buy large quantities of over-the-counter medications that can be used to make methamphetamines led to the arrest Thursday night of a husband-wife couple from Peabody.
David Orcutt, 54, and Debby Orcutt, 55, were each arrested and charged with possession and manufacture of methamphetamines. The couple currently are free on $20,000 bond.
Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker said his department, in cooperation with the police departments from Peabody and Marion, obtained warrants to search the Orcutt property based on the retail logs.
He said county law enforcement had been keeping tabs on the couple “literally for years.”
“We were there six months ago because of the smells, but we couldn’t get a search warrant from the county attorney based on that,” Becker said. “So this (registry evidence) got us into that house.”
Becker said the arrests actually were made without incident in Harvey County after officers there happened upon the suspects after being notified by Becker’s office of the new evidence.
Marion County officers who exercised the warrant on the residence uncovered active meth labs in two adjacent outbuildings, Becker said.
“We started processing (the buildings) about 8 p.m. and finished about midnight,” he said.
A specialized unit from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was called in to clean up the scene after the initial search.
“They swab the house for residue, and if they find some on the wall they cut the wall out and take it,” Becker said. “It was pretty destructive.”
He said the entire operation was complete by about 5 a.m.
“What this case indicates to me is that the laws are working,” Becker said.
He added that he is convinced that meth production is again on the rise in Marion County.
“I predict it will be a busy year for us,” Becker said. “They’ve been getting braver and braver again. There for a while we did the work and we got them caught. But we’ve been getting hit more and more for anhydrous (amonia, an ingredient in meth production). That’s what’s telling me it’s picking up.”