Cops: Pocket-Dial To 911 Sinks Florida Trio Operating Meth Lab In Backyard Shed
A Florida trio is facing narcotics manufacturing charges after one of the suspects pocket-dialed 911 and a police operator stayed on the line for nearly half-an-hour listening to them “talking about making and selling methamphetamine,” according to a police report.
The operator, cops noted, also detected a “bubbling sound as if something was cooking.”
Investigators traced the call early Saturday to a shed in the backyard of a home in Deltona, a city 30 miles north of Orlando.
When Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies peered into an open window, they spotted material indicating that the shed housed a methamphetamine lab, including a “bottle that appeared to be smoking.” Additionally, white smoke billowed from the shed.
Deputies raided the structure and arrested Donna Knope, 55; Jason Knope, 32; and Thomas Stallings, 41, for manufacturing and possessing methamphetamine. A search of the shed, cops noted, yielded “all of the makings of an active meth lab, including coffee filters, a butane torch, batteries, drain opener, plastic tubing, hypodermic needles, lithium strips, lighter fluid, plastic bags and numerous plastic bottles containing a white substance.”
Investigators do not know which of the suspects inadvertently tipped them to the existence of the meth operation. The Knopes--Donna is Jason’s mother--live in the home behind which the meth lab was operating.
Stallings, who lives at another Deltona residence, is currently on probation in connection with a burglary conviction. During the 911 call, the police dispactcher reported, a man who identified himself as “Tommy” stated that he was on probation and complained that a police official “had been watching him.”
Donna Knope is pictured above, flanked by her son and Stallings (right).