The St. Clair County Sheriff's Drug Tactical Unit and Belleville's Street Crimes unit had a busy week this week with the arrests of several people accused of manufacturing or selling meth or heroin.
On Monday, the sheriff's drug unit arrested 50-year-old Kevin E. Hagen after he admitted he was making meth in an RV he lived in behind his mother's house at 1306 Illinois Ave. in East Carondelet.
After receiving an anonymous tip about a meth lab in the RV, investigators went to the home and met with Hagen, according to Lt. Kurt Eversman. While talking to investigators, Hagen consented to a search of the RV and told police he wanted to be honest and admitted he did have a meth lab in the vehicle.
When investigators searched the RV they noticed a strong chemical odor and found a five gallon bucket containing three "shake and bake" meth labs. A shake and bake lab is a plastic bottle containing the ingredients to manufacture meth.
"We've been seeing it more and more," Eversman said of the plastic bottles. "They take soda, water, Gatorade, any plastic bottle, mix all the ingredients they need and shake this stuff up. It goes through the entire cooking process there. It's a very quick, easy way for these guys to do this."
Investigators contacted the Illinois State Police Meth Response Team to clean up and dismantle the hazardous lab. A further search of the vehicle found a .22 caliber rifle.
Hagen was arrested and later charged by the St. Clair County State's Attorney Office.
He was charged with the aggravated participation of methamphetamine, a class X felony. The charge is enhanced for having a firearm in the meth lab. He was also charged with participation in methamphetamine manufacturing, also a class X felony, and the possession of methamphetamine manufacturing materials.
Hagen's bond was set at $300,000 and he remains in custody.
On Tuesday, the sheriff's drug team and the Belleville Police Street Crimes unit teamed up to make arrests at a known drug house at 651 N. 39th St. in Belleville. The sheriff's department and the Belleville police launched an investigation about the residence after receiving numerous complaints of drug activity at the home, Eversman said. During the course of the investigation police were able to confirm that both heroin and meth were being sold and used at the residence.
Officers went to the address and knocked on the door to talk to the occupants. While there, they noticed a vehicle parked in the driveway of the home with a people believed to be drug customers inside. Officers approached the passenger in the vehicle and noticed foil and drug paraphernalia in her hands. When they searched the vehicle, meth was found.
Amanda C. Costner, 23, of Barnhart, Mo., was arrested and the St. Clair County State's Attorney charged her with the unlawful possession of methamphetamine. Her bond was set at $250,000 and she remains in custody.
Back at the home, police were able to see inside the house while talking to the residents and noted several things in plain view that were associated with drug use. Several of the people in the home became combative towards police and had to be restrained, Eversman said. Due to the observations of items in the home, police applied for and received a search warrant for the home and found methamphetamine, items used to smoke and snort both meth and heroin, packaging materials and a "substantial" amount of money. A total of seven people were arrested, several on outstanding warrants.
A one-year-old child was in the home at the time and has been placed in the custody of a family member, Eversman said.
The two people charged with felonies lived at the home, Eversman said.
Brittany L. Tiller, 23, was charged with two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. The home is near Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. Her bond was set at $500,000 and she remains in custody.
Leslie A. Ellerbrock, 42, was charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine and permitting the unlawful use of a building. The second charge is used when someone knowingly allows a building they are responsible for to be used for the unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.
Ellerbrock's bond was set at $250,000 and she remains in custody.
"This house is one of a couple we've received several complaints on and it was a joint effort between the Belleville Police and the DTU," Eversman said. "As we were leaving, there were three or four different residents who came out of their homes and thanked us for shutting this drug house down. They said the traffic up and down the street would back up, even late at night."