A total of six individuals were arrested recently in two separate drug busts, one by the Grand Rapids Police Department and one by the Itasca County Sheriff's Department.

According to Grand Rapids Police Chief Jim Denny, officers from the police department and sheriff's department executed a search warrant at a location on Pine Island Drive in Grand Rapids on June 28. At the scene, officers seized approximately 10 grams of suspected methamphetamine, 11 marijuana plants, $1,300 in cash and a hand gun.

Denny said two people were arrested and charged in connection with the case. He identified them as Justin Edward Auger, 21, and Jennifer Lee Dickey, 24, both of Grand Rapids. Auger was charged with two counts of felony second degree controlled substance crime, one count of fifth degree controlled substance crime and one count of gross misdemeanor possession of a firearm by an ineligible person. Dickey has been charged with one count of felony fifth degree controlled substance crime.

Investigator Dean Scherf with the Itasca County Sheriff's Department said the sheriff's department, along with the Grand Rapids and Bovey police departments, executed a search warrant at a residence within the Bovey city limits on July 6. Officers found suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the scene.

A vehicle at the residence was also seized and a second search warrant was obtained to search the vehicle. Scherf said several items and chemicals consistent with the manufacture of meth were found inside.

Four people were arrested in connection with the July 6 incident, Scherf said. One was arrested for probation violation and another was arrested for violating conditions of release. Two others were arrested and have been charged with felony possession of methamphetamine. Scherf identified the two as Leslie Ray Adcock, 48, of Bovey and Briana Beth Baldwin, 24, of Grand Rapids.

He said the suspected meth lab is still under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time in connection with the suspected lab.

Scherf said law enforcement expects to see methamphetamine become more prevalent.

The equipment needed to manufacture meth is "minimal," Scherf said. There is a "one-pot" method in which those cooking meth use items including a two-liter pop bottle, lithium from batteries, ammonium nitrate from ice packs, ephedrine or pseudoephedrine and drain cleaner.

"The problem is these chemicals are highly flammable," Scherf said. "It's a pretty big fire risk."

Meth labs are capable of producing hazardous materials which can be harmful to both people and the environment, he said.

He said people should not handle anything which looks suspicious, for example, clear liquid in a bottle with lithium battery wrappers nearby.

The sheriff's department has five officers who have been trained by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in dismantling meth labs, Scherf said.

Both Scherf and Denny said any suspicious activity should be reported to law enforcement. The Grand Rapids Police Department may be reached at (218) 326-3464 and the Itasca County Sheriff's Department may be reached at (218) 326-3477 or (800) 458-8732.

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