A tip from a former Washington police officer and an extensive search through pharmacy logs led to the arrest this week of a Washington man and seizure of a suspected meth lab.
Washington Patrolman Nathan Pinter received information from Nathan Knight, who worked previously as a Washington policeman, that the suspect, identified as John W. Lundak III, had been purchasing medicine containing pseudoephedrine at a pharmacy in the Kirkwood area.
Pseudoephedrine is the vital ingredient needed to make methamphetamine.
Based on that tip and information gleaned from prescription pill logs, Pinter went to Lundak’s home in Sir Williams Trailer Court on East Ninth Street shortly after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Pinter knocked on the door but no one answered. Officer Darrell Flora, who was with Pinter, then got Lundak to come to the door, according to Police Chief Ken Hahn. The man refused to grant permission to search the home, Hahn said, so officers secured the scene while Pinter obtained a search warrant through circuit court.
During the search officers found drug paraphernalia and a one-pot meth lab in the freezer section of a refrigerator, Hahn said.
Lundak, 54, was arrested and charged later with one count of possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.
Hahn said there were two other people in the home at the time. Both are known by law enforcement for drug offenses, he said. They were not arrested.
Members of the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit and Washington Fire Department were called in to assist in the investigation and to decontaminate the suspect before he was taken to the county jail for booking, according to Hahn.
Drug task force members told The Missourian that they have been investigating Lundak based on pill purchases.
Hahn praised Pinter, who works closely with the drug task force.
“Officer Pinter is very aggressive. His passion is in working narcotics cases,” Hahn commented. “This was good teamwork by our officers.”
Lundak entered a not guilty plea to the charge in a video arraignment conducted Thursday.
His bond originally was set at $15,000 cash or surety, but Associate Circuit Judge Stan Williams later changed that to $10,000 cash-only.
He remained in custody in the county jail as of press time Friday.
Lundak could face additional charges after evidence seized in the case is analyzed by the Missouri Highway Patrol lab.