Monday afternoon, while serving a search warrant for a federal fugitive believed to be hiding in rural St. James, Phelps County Sheriff’s Deputies found more than they were looking for: Along with the fugitive, they discovered evidence of a suspected methamphetamine lab, said PCSD Det. Andy Davis.


Monday afternoon, while serving a search warrant for a federal fugitive believed to be hiding in rural St. James, Phelps County Sheriff’s Deputies found more than they were looking for: Along with the fugitive, they discovered evidence of a suspected methamphetamine lab, said PCSD Det. Andy Davis.
Four suspects were arrested at the scene and all remained in Phelps County Jail Tuesday night.
According to Davis, Phelps County deputies received a tip from a federal agent that a fugitive was at a residence in the 15000 block of Old Hwy. 66 near St. James.
Because of information that the suspect was possibly armed, deputies surrounded the residence before executing a “knock and talk” at about 2:40 p.m., said Davis, at the home of Marlana Powell.
“As we approached the trailer we detected an odor; a distinct and strong chemical smell usually associated with meth labs,” said Davis.
Deputies knocked numerous times, and after about five minutes Powell came to the door, Davis said.
“We ordered everyone out, and she and two others came outside,” Davis reported.
Deputies then conducted a protective sweep of the trailer and found the fugitive, Andrew Arvin, 26, hiding in a concealed room inside the home.
The detective said Arvin was behind a panel that looked like part of a wall, but was really an entrance into a hidden area.
Deputies also discovered large quantities of glassware, tubing, and chemicals associated with the production of methamphetamine, along with some suspected methamphetamine floating in the toilet, said Davis.
Arvin, 26, formerly of St. Louis, the suspect sought by the federal agent, was arrested for failure to return to place of arrest and two outstanding warrants for stealing.
He was also charged, by Phelps County Deputies, with manufacture and possession of a controlled substance. His bond on the county warrants was set at $50,000, and he is on a federal hold on the other charges.
Also arrested were:
• Marlana Powell, 31, St. James, charged with manufacture and possession of a controlled substance. After warrants were issued, her bond was set at $50,000.
• Kellie Stapfer, 29, Cuba, charged with manufacture and possession of a controlled substance. Her bond was set at $10,000 on the possession charge.
• Joseph Stapfer, 32, Potosi, was arrested on numerous outstanding warrants from other jurisdictions, including a warrant for trespassing in Crawford County, with a bond of $1,000 and another Crawford County warrant for possession of meth precursor, with a $500 cash-only bond; and a charge of manufacture of methamphetamine in Washington County, with a bond of $10,000.
All four are scheduled to be arraigned in court today.