13 charged after Polson-area meth bust
13 charged after Polson-area meth bust

Aftermath of Saturday morning raid

Eleven of the 19 individuals initially arrested early Saturday morning in a wide-sweeping methamphetamine raid in the Polson area were charged Monday in Lake County Justice Court.

Two other females were charged with misdemeanor drug charges in Tribal Court and six others, five women and a man, were released pending further investigation.

Seven young children, ages three months to 8 years, were placed under the custody of the state and tribal Department of Family Services.

The arrests, which began at 6 a.m. Saturday, came as a result of an ongoing, four-month investigation that involved nine separate law enforcement agencies including the Northwest Drug Task Force, said Lake County Sheriff Bill Barron.

Arrests were made at three active methamphetamine labs, while the makings of two inactive but assembled labs and one inactive disassembled lab also were seized, he said.

"This was bigger than we thought it was going to be," said Barron, who was still sifting through the legal paperwork late Monday afternoon.

The meth labs used the Lithium process, which is new to the area, according to Lake County Attorney Kim Christopher.

Anhydrous ammonia and Sudafed are the principal ingredients and lithium batteries are used to produce part of the chemical reaction, she wrote in her court affidavit.

The largest batch reported from one lab was 43 ounces, marking a street value of $50,000, said Barron.

"That's a big production," he said. "And you think that's just one lab and one batch and they had seven they were working with. It's hard to say how much was produced and hit the street."

Sixty to 70 officers participated in the drug bust which included four residences and a motel room in Polson and residences on Finley Point, north of Polson, and Charlo.

The active lab was seized at the Finley Point home of Amber and Darren McArdle, according to court documents.

When officers arrived at the home of Jacob "Sonny" Randle in Polson, Richard Glidden and Darryl Johnson fled. They were apprehended after a short foot chase, said Barron.

Glidden and Johnson were the only suspects who resisted arrest.

Randle was found in a garage behind the residence where a meth lab was in operation, while Norma Burland and Shadden Wilson were arrested inside the house.

At the Steve Olson home in Charlo, officers seized a third operating lab.

Glidden, Robert Heppler, 30, William Houck Sr., 44, William Houck Jr., 21, Joseph, 29, Amber McArdle, 22, Darren McArdle, 30, Jacob McLeod, 26, Steve Olson, 36, and Wilson, 22 all were charged in Lake County Justice Court with criminal production or manufacture of dangerous drugs, a felony, while Alan Mcleod, 51, was charged with criminal possession of dangerous drugs, a felony.

They are being held in the Lake County Jail on bonds from $10,000 to $25,000, said Barron.

Patsy Houck, 33, and a 17-year-old juvenile female were arrested by tribal officers on misdemeanor drug charges. Their case will be handled by Tribal Court.

Norma Burland, Farrah Hameline, Mary Mad Plume, Gay McLeod, Reece McLeod and Madeline Weaselhead were released pending the continuing investigation.

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