MILLCREEK — A man has been arrested after police discovered evidence of a meth lab in his home following a reported traffic accident.
David Ward was arrested at his home at 4607 Fortuna Way in Millcreek after officers with the Unified Police Department showed up at his home to check up on his children following a traffic accident.
Officers received a call reporting a traffic accident with injuries at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. When they arrived at the scene of the accident at 3329 Bernada Drive, they were told a Ford Explorer had been traveling eastbound on the street before veering to the left, going through a front yard and up over a cinder block wall.
"The driver got a good Samaritan to give him a ride home — his home was only a block or two away," said Lt. Justin Hoyal with the Unified Police Department.
Police were told three young children had also been in the car. Because injuries had been reported, they drove to Ward's home at 4607 Fortuna Way to check on the children.
Police uncover meth lab on welfare check
Hoyal said when officers reached the front door of the house, Ward became uncooperative with them.
"He began a physical confrontation with the officers, assaulted one of our officers and then attempted to take a Taser away from one of the officers," Hoyal said.
After a "short altercation," officers were able to take the suspect into custody and enter the home to check on the children, a 3-year-old and 1-year-old twins.
He began a physical confrontation with the officers, assaulted one of our officers and then attempted to take a Taser away from one of the officers.
Hoyal said evidence of a meth lab sat in plain view, although he could not say what that evidence was at the current stage of the investigation.
Ward was arrested, and the three children were taken into custody to undergo medical examinations with the Unified Fire Department. Hoyal said the mother of the children has been contacted, but does not live at that address.
He said the department is waiting on a search warrant to be able to enter the house and conduct a more thorough investigation.
"We're looking into exactly why he was so uncooperative, but it's pretty obvious there is evidence inside the home that caused him to be uncooperative with our officers," Hoyal said.
A sharp decrease in meth lab activity
Hoyal said it has been some time since the department has seen a meth lab.
"We haven't had a lot of meth labs in recent years, and this is definitely not a place we were aware of that there was a meth lab," he said.
The numbers were once much higher. Eight years ago, Utah had 53 times more meth lab busts than police see today.
We haven't had a lot of meth labs in recent years, and this is definitely not a place we were aware of that there was a meth lab.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2004 Utah investigators uncovered 107 active meth labs. By 2007, that number had dropped down to eight; and in 2012, only two meth labs were uncovered.
Police attribute the drastic decrease to the federal government limiting the amount of pseudorphedrine that can be purchased at one time. "Now you can only buy them in limited supply, which is certainly not enough to cook meth," Hoyal said.
That law took effect in 2005, precisely the time meth lab busts started to drop nationwide.
Currently, DEA statistics show Utah has one of the lowest rates of reported meth labs in the country — again, only two were uncovered in 2012. Missouri has the highest rate, with 1,825 meth lab busts reported that same year.
Contributing: Devon Dolan