Major drug bust in Keys |

Major drug bust in Keys

Gregory Crofton

A probation violation in Meyers Thursday led to the arrest of five more people and seizure of an assault rifle, $210,000 worth of marijuana, hash, methamphetamine and the chemicals to make it from a house off Tahoe Keys Boulevard.

WENET, West El Dorado Narcotic Enforcement Team, arrested a 31-year-old at a residence on Semat Street. Investigators believe the Meyers home is a vacation house and may be owned by relatives of the man.

WENET determined the man violated terms of his probation when they found equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine inside the Semat home.

SLEDNET (the South Shore’s multiagency drug team) and Drug Enforcement Administration investigators from Reno then joined the case. After developing leads, investigators on Saturday began to surveil a house at the 700 block of Michael Drive, which is off of Tahoe Keys Boulevard.

There they reportedly witnessed Aaron Johnson, 26, of Oakley, Calif., and Shawn Pacheco, 26, also of Oakley, remove chemicals and glassware from the garage and load them into a white Toyota pickup owned by Pacheco.

Agents and South Lake Tahoe Police followed the two men to Kmart and arrested them in the parking lot. Then agents, wearing raid gear, went back to the house on Michael, knocked on the front door and asked if they could come in.

“Some guy answered the door and said, “Yeah, go ahead,'” said Chris Elliott, SLEDNET task force commander. “You could smell marijuana, it overpowered the whole house.”

Elliott said agents then got warrants that allowed them to search the Toyota and the house. The pickup contained two large tool boxes filled with glassware, plastic tubing, hydriodic acid, iodine crystals, lye, toluene and pseudoephedrine tablets; which are all ingredients used in the manufacture of meth. They also found 4.4 grams of the drug in the truck.

In a shed near the house, investigators reportedly found stained filters; in the garage they found containers of toluene.

Inside the house, officers reportedly discovered closets and a room full of marijuana. They seized 25 growing marijuana plants, 49 clones and 63 stocks hanging to dry. Agents stripped the stocks of 1,190 grams of the drug. They also confiscated another 3,212 grams of marijuana.

A resident of the house, Aaron Barton, a 26-year-old from South Lake Tahoe, was also booked for possession of 4 grams of hash, which is a more potent form of marijuana.

Barton may also be booked for illegal possession of an assault rifle. Officers seized two shotguns, a Marlin .22 caliber rifle, a Bushmaster AR15 assault rifle and a Sig-Sauer .40 caliber pistol. Tuesday they were trying to determine if any of the residents had permits for the weapons.

Officers also arrested two other people at the house on Michael: Cody Metzger, 23, of South Lake Tahoe, and Ron Baker, 22, also of South Lake Tahoe.

Safety Kleen, a company from Sparks that is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency, cleaned the chemicals from the Toyota and the house, Elliott said.

The production of methamphetamine, a drug that works on the central nervous system, creates a lot of toxic waste. Elliott said a pound of meth can mean 5 pounds of waste, much of which is poured down drains or tossed into the earth.

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