Task force busts meth lab; two people charged

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 31, 2003

VIDALIA &045; A tip from a Concordia Parish boy who found a suspicious toolbox &045; which turned out to be a portable meth lab &045; led to the arrest of two suspects this week on drug charges.

Along with that crystal methamphetamine lab bust, the Concordia Parish Narcotics Task Force is also looking for another suspect in an unrelated case.

Earlier this week, the task force arrested Mark L. Hendricks, 38, of 4578 La. 569, in Ferriday, and Petta P. Kirby, 38, of 245 Hammett Addition in Vidalia, on drug charges. Hendricks was charged with two counts of manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond

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was set at $40,000.

Kirby was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $15,000.

The arrests followed weeks of investigation, which included the assistance of an area youth who reportedly found a portable meth lab in a large toolbox, said task force Officer Michael Cowan. The toolbox was hidden in a rural area of the parish, and the boy’s father notified the sheriff’s department of its suspicious contents.

Cowan said the toolbox contained jars of the &uot;finished product,&uot; along with chemical waste materials, containers of ether and acid, and assorted &uot;cooking&uot; items used to manufacture methamphetamines.

According to authorities, a fingerprint found on the toolbox was linked to Hendricks,

who had been arrested in the 1980s on drug charges.

Hendricks and Kirby were arrested Tuesday at Hendricks’ La. 569 residence, where task force officials say another meth lab was operating in full force.

In another case, a search warrant was issued Jan. 27 for the Diane Street residence of Lulu King Harris. Task force officials said evidence there was found connecting Harris to the 141 Bingham St. meth lab where William R. &uot;Bill&uot; Smith was arrested Jan. 10. Harris has not been located, but an arrest warrant has been issued for her on various drug charges.

Working on the narcotics cases with Cowan were task force Officer Chuck Hall, Lt. Frankie Carroll of the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Capt. Wesley Bruce of the Vidalia Police Department, Sgt. Jack Fletcher and Deputies Mitch Price and Ashley Gilfoil of the sheriff’s office and State Trooper Justin Green.