By Ed Pruneau

Missourian Managing Editor

Franklin County narcotics officers arrested four people this week and were searching for two others in a methamphetamine investigation that started with a traffic stop in Washington.

At least three of the suspects were traced to a home on Missouri Avenue in Washington where they were staying in rented rooms, Detective Cpl. Scott Briggs said.

Briggs said the investigation stemmed from the stop Tuesday on Highway 100, east of Washington Heights Drive. While questioning the driver, a 29-year-old St. Clair man, the officer noticed drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle.

A passenger, identified as Justin L. Ridens, 28, Robertsville, fled on foot but was taken into custody after he was stunned with a taser gun, Briggs said.

The detective said Ridens was wanted on a St. Louis County warrant for unlawful possession of a firearm and he also was arrested for resisting arrest.

The next day, investigators went back to the scene and found a bag containing 8 to 10 grams of suspected crystal methamphetamine in some weeds near where Ridens was caught, Briggs said. That evidence will be taken to the Missouri Highway Patrol lab for analysis.

Investigators then developed information from that stop that led them to the home on Missouri Avenue, where they served a search warrant Wednesday.

Two people were arrested at the home on outstanding warrants. They are Nicholas S. Hess, 29, Union, and Christine E. Lewis, 28, Briggs said.

Hess is wanted on charges of failure to appear in court in cases involving resisting arrest and felony stealing, Briggs said, while Lewis has outstanding warrants for probation violations in a number of cases.

When police and deputies executed the search warrant they found the house filled with accumulated trash and debris, Briggs said. The city of Washington later condemned the structure until it can be cleaned out, according to officials.