Members of the Brazil City and Clay City Police and the Clay County Sheriff's departments worked together on the impromptu investigation that led to the arrests of Nicholas Ritz, 18, and Casey Perkins, 19, both of Brazil, on preliminary charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine precursors and possession of paraphernalia.
The investigation started when Brazil City Police Drug Det. Todd Stemm received information about the possible manufacture of methamphetamine within the city limits of Brazil.
A traffic stop of the suspects' vehicle in an area near State Road 59 and County Road 500 North around 10 p.m., officers, including the Brazil City Police K-9 Unit, discovered numerous precursors for the manufacture of methamphetamine and pieces of drug paraphernalia.
Members of the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Lab Team, called to the scene to assist in the investigation and clean up, reported that all of the necessary ingredients were present for the meth manufacturing process.
Chief Deputy Rob Gambill said upon completion of the manufacturing process, as much as a half an ounce of high-grade methamphetamine could have been yielded from the materials, which could have a value of approximately $700-$1,000.
Although it is unclear at this time what the suspects intended to do with the drug, officials say suspects in possession of this amount of methamphetamine usually intend to distribute it.
Ritz and Perkins were arrested and booked into the Clay County Justice Center, but officers continued the investigation by obtaining a search warrant for their Brazil residence.
Upon entry, the Brazil City Police K-9 Unit indicated the presence of drugs at the residence while officers located and seized scales consistent with use to weigh illegal controlled substances and other various drug paraphernalia.
"We are so excited to have the K-9 unit. This is a great too for our community and department. It's been needed for a long time and this arrest shows the necessity," Police Chief Terry Harrison said about K-9 Handler Kenny Hill's return to active duty with K-9 Officer Anya on Monday. "There is a huge drug problem in Brazil and Clay County as a whole. This case, which took place right in the middle of our community, shows the boldness of the people involved in this type of activity."
Further details are unavailable because officials confirm the ongoing investigation into this case could lead to other suspects.
Officials confirm this is the third methamphetamine laboratory seized in the county since the Brazil City Police Dept. joined the Drug Task Force on July 1.
Sheriff Mike Heaton said the additional manpower and resources provided by the city police department not only benefits Brazil residents, but also helps increase the overall effectiveness of the task force throughout the county.
"The reality is that there is a real drug problem in our county," Heaton said. "Working together helps bring more information to the table in the fight against drugs in our community."