Photos: Meth lab busted in Apache County; 7 arrested

Sanders meth lab

Credit: Apache County Sheriff's Office

Authorities in northeastern Arizona busted a methamphetamine lab.


by Jennifer Thomas

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 29 at 7:00 AM

Map: Meth lab busted in Sanders, Ariz.

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SANDERS, Ariz. -- Authorities in northeastern Arizona busted a methamphetamine lab along Interstate 40 in Sanders and took seven people into custody.

A taskforce composed of personnel from the Apache County Sheriff's Office, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office executed two search warrants on Thursday.

Authorities served a search warrant at Action Automotive and Towing on the I-40 frontage road, just east of Sanders, and found a meth lab in a mobile home behind the building.

In a camp trailer next to the mobile home, they found an "extraction setup," the process that is used to extract ephedrine from over-the counter-medication, according to the Apache County Sheriff's Office.

Inside the house that the tow company operated from, officers recovered drugs, drug paraphernalia and firearms. One of the residents of the home was a young child. That child is currently staying with another family member.

Four people were taken into custody at the location.

Authorities then executed a warrant at the home of Gary Allen McDonald, 66, about three miles west of the towing company. They found a large quantity of a crystalline substance believed to be methamphetamine and more than 20 firearms, according to the sheriff's office.

Investigators believe the lab had the capacity to easily produce 8 to 10 pounds of methamphetamine per week.

Authorities arrested McDonald; Mitchell John Neri, 47; Christopher Roy Rehfield, 59; Diana R. Neri, 40, the registered owner of Action Towing; Susan Elizabeth Sorensen, 36; Mark Gilmore, 43; and Samantha L. Hernandez.