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Two Arraigned After Drug Lab Discovered Deputies Also Find Weapons, Pipe Bombs Under Construction

SATURDAY, JAN. 31, 1998

Two men face arraignment Thursday in connection with the bust of what authorities say was a methamphetamine lab and bomb factory.

In addition to a pot of meth brewing on a wood stove, Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s deputies reported finding pipe bombs in various stages of construction and several loaded weapons when they raided a compound of trailers on rural property about six miles south of Newport.

In what was described as a “hidden room” in one of two trailers, deputies said they found a glass jar containing thousands of match heads along with about a dozen cans of black powder and fuses. They also found a container full of glass shards that apparently were intended as shrapnel in homemade bombs, Deputy Prosecutor Tony Koures said in court documents.

Koures said a pyrotechnician told him the jar of match heads was more dangerous than a gunpowder bomb.

Koures said the bombs and supplies were found in the fifth-wheel trailer home of Walter “Randy” Todd, 33. Koures said deputies also found enough chemicals to make a half-pound of methamphetamine.

Deputies went to Todd’s trailer with a warrant to look for weapons they spotted during an earlier investigation of a trespass complaint. Koures said loaded weapons were found, and Todd was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, and three counts of possession of stolen property.

Todd already has several charges pending in Superior Court, including attempting to elude officers, and Koures said he expects to file more charges on the basis of evidence discovered Thursday.

District Court Judge Chuck Baechler set bail at $100,000. Todd remained in the county jail on Friday night along with co-defendant Jack K. Gannon, 36.

Formal charges have not yet been filed against Gannon. Baechler set his bail at $75,000.

Sheriff’s deputies said Gannon was living in the meth lab, a small trailer near Todd’s. Deputies said they found Gannon outside the trailer and he warned them not to go inside because it was a meth lab. He told them Todd cooked the drugs, deputies said.

Officers looked inside the trailer, saw a beaker of reddish liquid bubbling on a wood stove and withdrew to get a search warrant and summon the Washington State Patrol’s hazardous materials team.

On the advice of the WSP, deputies said they put large amounts of snow into the stove’s fire chamber to prevent phosphorous in the beaker from exploding.

Deputies found five ounces of finished methamphetamine in the lab as well as a loaded, large-magazine .22-caliber rifle that had been cut down to a pistol grip, Koures said.

A stolen car and three snowmobiles that had been stolen in Spokane also were found, Koures said.

“A man with an active felony warrant” escaped on one of the snowmobiles three days earlier when officers went to the Todd residence in search of the stolen car, Koures said.

The man who got away was identified as one of Todd’s brothers, Todd R. Todd, 24, who recently escaped from the county jail by climbing over a fence in the exercise yard, Koures said The Todd residence was the site of a massive but largely fruitless drug raid in August. Eighty officers from throughout the region swooped down on the property, but found only remnants of a meth lab at the time. A related raid in the Sandpoint area resulted in a shootout.

, DataTimes

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