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Suspected island drug labs raided
A multi-agency task force of gun-toting law enforcement officials served two search warrants and arrested two people Tuesday morning at rural Oak Harbor homes suspected of being methamphetamine laboratories.
The search warrants are part of an ongoing drug investigation that links two Whidbey Island men to the thefts of ammonia gas from Arlington and Quincy earlier this month. The search allegedly turned up stolen property, drug paraphernalia and equipment used to produce methamphetamines.
Jan Smith, a spokeswoman for the Island County Sheriff's Office, said an Oak Harbor couple, Duane Christian, 46, and Leanna Christian, 40, were arrested during the searches on suspicion of possessing chemicals and equipment associated with the manufacture of methamphetamines. The search warrants came courtesy of the Grant County Sheriff's Office. They were issued after Duane Christian and another North Whidbey man arrested in the Eastern Washington county last week in connection with one of the thefts were released from the Grant County Jail.
According to Smith, several 55-gallon drums of chemicals were "potentially headed for Whidbey," where they may have been intended for use in producing methamphetamines, a powerful and dangerous type of "speed."
The Whidbey Island men, Duane Christian and Steve Lomax, 46, were arrested and booked into the Grant County Jail May 21. Christian was booked on suspicion of third-degree theft, possession with intent to deliver meth, malicious mischief in the second degree, attempted theft and criminal trespass in the second degree.
Lomax was booked on suspicion of possession with intent to deliver, but more charges were added later, a jail spokesperson said.
Christian and Lomax have been linked to an ammonia theft that led to the evacuation of the city of Arlington earlier this month, as well a chemical theft in Quincy. Both men were out of jail on bail bonds when law enforcement raided their Oak Harbor area homes this week.
The task force on the raid was made up of personnel from the State Patrol's Special Incident Response Team, the Grant County and Island County sheriff's offices. Duane and Leanna Christian, who were taken into custody at their Zylstra Road home, were the only two people arrested in the operation. Duane Christian remains in custody in Island County Jail.
Smith said the couple may face charges for operating a methamphetamine production lab and possessing stolen property, since a stolen personal watercraft was found on the property.
The task force served a second search warrant at Lomax's home on Fort Nugent Road. Nobody was at home when the warrant was served.