An Ash Flat man has been charged with manufacturing methamphetamine after he admitted he was inside a cabin full of components used to make meth, according to authorities.
Paul F. Dobson, 41, was arrested Dec. 9 after a local property owner contacted Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver after encountering a man in his relatives' cabin.
Joel Baker, who owns hunting property near Strawberry Valley Road south of Ash Flat, said he went to the cabin belonging to James and Erma Gallagher after noticing activity in the area, said Chief Deputy Rickey Crook.
"Baker did not see any vehicles at the cabin so he opened the door to the cabin and came face to face with a white male wearing a camouflage coat," Crook said. "Baker asked the male what he was doing. The man replied, 'I am leaving.'"
The man then ran into the woods and drove off in a blue SUV, running over trees and damaging the vehicle. Baker followed until he lost sight of the truck.
Baker went back to the cabin, opened the door and noticed an "unbearable" chemical odor. Weaver, Crook and detective John Qualls got to the cabin about 25 minutes later.
"The ammonia odor was still so strong we could not enter without wearing proper breathing protection," he said.
Officers found "pealed" lithium batteries, coffee filters, camp fuel, drain cleaner, salt and acetone in the cabin. One full bag and two empty bags of ammonium sulfate, two zip-lock bags contained suspected lye, three cans of starting fluid and one large fire extinguisher with plastic tubing were also found, along with a cooler with dry ice, a bottle of liquid drain cleaner, a homemade cylinder with plastic fittings and tubing attached and a zip-lock bag with crushed pill powder residue. Officers also found several plastic containers with small plastic tubing.
"All of the items are known as being common chemicals and items needed in the manufacture of methamphetamine," Crook said.
Weaver and Detective Sgt. David Huffmaster walked the path of the vehicle through the woods and found a left side mirror believed to have been knocked off the vehicle.
Weaver left the cabin and later located the vehicle, a blue 2000 Chevrolet Blazer registered to John or Lois Dobson, with the missing mirror and the left front window broken out. The officers then found Paul Dobson, with a camouflage coat on, walking nearby. During a search, officers found glass consistent with automotive glass in the pockets of the coat.
Dobson, who has a previous drug conviction, admitted to being at the cabin, Crook said. Because of his previous conviction Dobson could face twice the time of imprisonment for a class B felony and/or twice the fine if convicted, said 3rd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce.