On Sept. 6, Clay County Sheriff's Department Deputy James Switzer initiated a traffic stop on John R. Passen, 53, Shelburn, who was slowly weaving his Chevy Camaro along the roadway near the intersection of County Road 1300 South and CR 400 W.
Passen complied with a field sobriety test at the scene, but refused a chemical test when he failed parts of the field test.
Taken into custody on the initial preliminary charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Passen was transported to the Clay County Justice Center for booking.
During the following investigation, the contents of Passen's vehicle were logged into evidence. Several of the items were discovered to be the remains of a potential meth lab, although not working at the time, and were sent off for identification and confirmation.
Once the items were confirmed, additional allegations were added to Passen's formal charging information.
Appearing before Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers by videoconference, a preliminary plea of not guilty was entered on Passen's behalf, Matthew Effner was appointed as defense attorney, bond was left at $25,000 (with no 10 percent allowed) and jury trial was tentatively set for Jan. 25, 2010.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 12, Deputy Casey Judge initiated a traffic stop when she saw debris flying out of the back of a pickup truck near the Chinook Fish and Wildlife Area in Staunton.
When Judge approached the truck, which had drug precursors in plain sight, she requested K-9 Handler/Deputy Brison Swearingen be dispatched to the scene with K-9 Officer Dayk.
Dayk performed a walk-around "sniff" of the vehicle and indicated the presence of drugs.
Cory D. Hyde, 23, and Mindy R. Brown, 21, both from Terre Haute, were taken into custody and transported to the Clay County Justice Center.
During the investigation, the contents of the vehicle were determined to be an inactive meth lab by officials of the Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team, who were called to collect evidence, neutralize and dispose the toxic remnants of the lab. Although the lab was in the final stage of production, officials confirmed no final product was discovered.
Jail officials confirmed both Hyde and Brown remain incarcerated while awaiting formal arraignment and further court proceedings per the court calendar.