Authorities are searching for a suspect who fled the scene of a methamphetamine lab north of Cave City during a drug bust late Sunday night.
A man authorities think was Danny Joe Crouch, 46, of Sandtown shoved officers aside and ran out of a mobile home, jumped off the front porch and fled into the woods north of the house as they were interviewing another suspect at the front door. The suspect who fled eluded officers who searched for him throughout the night.
Officers arrested the resident of the mobile home, Jeffery Burns, 33, along with Danny Joe Crouch Jr., 17, of Sandtown who is expected to be charged as an adult, according to the Sharp County Sheriff's Office.
Sharp County deputy Seth Higginbottom discovered the lab when he was passing by and smelled ammonia coming from the residence on Highway 167, 100 yards north of the northern city limits of Cave City. He remembered the sheriff's office had issued a hot check warrant for Burns, so he approached the home with officer Colby Marcum of the Cave City Police Department as a backup.
"When they got to the mobile home they heard someone say, 'Oh, s--t, it's the cops,'" said Sheriff Dale Weaver. That's when the man believed to be the elder Crouch bolted out the door, Weaver said. Marcum started to pursue the fleeing suspect, but Higginbottom called him back to assist in the arrest of the other two men, Weaver said.
The front door was open and officers observed items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine inside the home. They arrested Burns and the younger Crouch, charging them with manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use.
Weaver said authorities recovered almost a gallon of meth. "That much would finish as an ounce," Weaver said. There are 28.3 grams to an ounce, and the street value of finished meth is $100 to $120 a gram, Weaver said.
The sheriff remained at the scene all night awaiting a search warrant from the District Judge Tim Starken before executing the search with assistance from the 3rd Judicial District Drug Task Force Monday morning.