"We thought we would take a shot that the suspect would be home because of the bad weather," Clay County Sheriff's Department Detective Jerry Siddons told The Brazil Times Wednesday about the investigation by the Clay County Drug Task Force. "This was a terrific joint effort between our department and the Clay City Police Department."
Siddons said when the suspect, Christopher A. Steuerwald, 43, opened the door of his residence at 8703 South County Road 50 West, officers could smell odors common with the manufacture of methamphetamine.
When questioned by officers, Siddons said Steuerwald gave them permission to search the residence.
Steuerwald was taken into custody for the contempt of court arrest warrant from Vigo County while officers from the Clay County Sheriff's and the Clay City Police Department located what appeared to be a working methamphetamine lab in the basement.
The Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team were contacted to assess and assist with the removal and disposal of the hazardous chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
Because of the meth lab discovery, additional preliminary charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance and illegal possession of anhydrous ammonia was added to Steuerwald's charges during the booking process at the Clay County Justice Center.
The investigation resulted in a search warrant being issued for a second undisclosed residence in Clay City. Upon searching the residence, officers discovered a 14-year-old runaway from Monroe County and several items of paraphernalia which could potentially be used during the ingestion of methamphetamine.
Due to the ongoing investigation at the second location, Siddons confirmed the suspects' names are not being released while the Clay County Drug Task Force works with the Clay County Prosecutor's Office to determine what potential charges to file against the subjects.
Jail officials confirmed Wednesday evening that Steuerwald remains incarcerated on a no 10 percent $25,000 cash bond while awaiting arraignment.
"Methamphetamine labs of this type are common for rural areas, but are also being found in some larger communities," Siddons said. "The Clay County Sheriff's Department encourages the public to assist us with information on illegal activity."
To report suspicious activity, contact the Clay County Sheriff Department at (812) 446-2535.