Two men are wanted after deputies found clandestine meth labs and stolen vehicles at a home in Pend Oreille County.
Suspect Shad A. Johnson, 38, was already sought by authorities in Spokane County in connection with a separate drug case stemming from an arrest outside a Spokane developer’s home.
Now Johnson is accused of being a key player in a case Pend Oreille County officials say began when he escaped from the woods near the Spokane County line during a burglary investigation March 30.
A caller reported a man and woman pointing a rifle out a car window near Metaline, Wash. The next day, investigators determined the suspect vehicle belonged to Michael P. James, 37, of Athol, who they believe has been staying with Johnson at a home at 172 Bobier Road, northwest of Newport, Wash.
Deputies arrested six people from North Idaho and Eastern Washington over the next few days, but Johnson and Jason P. Conboy, 30, of Spokane, remain at large. James was arrested Monday after breaking a Pend Oreille County sheriff’s deputy’s wrist in a scuffle.
The case culminated with a raid at the Bobier Road home on Friday by Pend Oreille sheriff’s deputies and Washington State Patrol detectives.
Investigators found three meth labs and eight stolen vehicles and seized jewelry, coins, mail and firearms as evidence.
Detectives homed in on the site on March 31 after they traced the car from the Metaline incident to a property in Ione, Wash.
Holly Stigall, 36, of Cusick, Wash., was arrested on the Ione property with a rifle reported stolen two days earlier near Sacheen Lake, but police think James was driven from the area by Kent T. Blankenship, 52, of Spirit Lake, Idaho.
Blankenship was arrested that night after deputies stopped his pickup on U.S. Highway 20 for expired license plates. He faces meth possession and drug paraphernalia charges and could be charged with rendering criminal assistance for helping James, according to the Pen Oreille County Sheriff’s Office.
Arrested at the Bobier Road home on March 31 were Robert E. “Eric” Lunde, 36, on a charge of manufacturing meth, and Alicia N. Green, 19, of Old Town, Idaho, on a marijuana charge.
The first arrest occurred on March 30 when Bobbi Jo Ostby, 26, of Coeur d’Alene, was picked up near a home on Allen Road after deputies responded to a burglary call.
Kalispel Tribal Police helped deputies surround 28 acres in the woods with thermal imaging night vision, but police think Conboy, Johnson and Chad A. Newby, 30, escaped.
Newby, of Kingston, Idaho, was arrested the next day in the Safeway parking lot in Newport. He faces drunken driving, weapons and drug charges, as well as charges of vehicle prowling and criminal trespassing.
Crime Stoppers is still offering a reward for tips that help arrest Johnson; the offer was first made after Johnson didn’t show up for a court appearance on a car theft and gun charges. The longtime felon was arrested with a stolen Jeep and a handgun on Jan. 7, 2009 outside Pinnacle Realty founder Joseph G. Ward’s home on Long Lake.
Now the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office is also looking for tips on Johnson, as well as Conboy. Anyone with information is asked to call (509) 447-3151.