The Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force encountered "a first" this past week when officers discovered an active "shake and bake" methamphetamine lab at a Butterfield residence.
According to Larry Keen, supervising agent with the Task Force, a shake and bake lab allows meth cooks to use one vessel to make anhydrous ammonia while they convert pseudoephedrine into a methamphetamine base.
"The shaking of the vessel creates the chemical reaction through heat and pressure," said Keen. "The advantage of this method is it requires a smaller amount of methamphetamine and it only takes approximately one and a half hours to complete the process."
Task Force officers have found evidence of shake and bake labs dumped around the county but this is the first working lab they have encountered, according to Keen.
Brian Hall, 32, of Butterfield, and Jeffrey Freeman, 32, of Monett, were arrested on the charges of attempting to manufacture a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance who were found inside the garage where the lab was discovered.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed with the court, Task Force agents went to the Hall residence in Butterfield in reference to a possible case of manufacturing methamphetamine. When officers arrived, they noticed a detached garage north of the main house and saw one of the doors on the garage raise up and then close.
When the officers went to investigate, they detected the odor of ammonia outside the garage. Upon entry, agents located Hall and Freeman inside the structure and saw chemicals and equipment commonly used to manufacture methamphetamine.
Hall admitted he was manufacturing meth using a new method he called "shake and bake." He told officers he had been using the process for about six months.
A search of the garage turned up a plastic bottle filled with ammonium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, lithium metal and camp fuel. The bottle was still in the process of reacting when officers confiscated it.
Task Force agents also seized empty packages of pseudoephedrine, coffee filters containing pill waste, syringes, digital scales, plastic tubing and a video surveillance camera.
Officers also searched Freeman's vehicle and found a metal can containing two small baggies containing a white crystalline substance and a cut straw with white residue that field tested positive for methamphetamine.
The affidavit of probable cause indicated that both Hall and Freeman were documented as purchasing illegal amounts of pseudoephedrine during the month of September.
Hall and Freeman are free on $25,000 bond.