FWC officer stops ‘shake and bake’ meth lab
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Media contact: Joy Hill, 352-258-3426
Rusty Bates (DOB 12/21/64) of Port Orange was arrested and booked into Volusia County jail Tuesday night on several charges, including battery and resisting arrest, after he became violent when a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement officer shut down his roadside methamphetamine lab.
It was about 7:30 p.m. when FWC Officer Don Meurlot spotted the suspect and another man standing by the trunk of a car parked on the side of U.S. Highway 1 in Volusia County in the three-bridges area between Port Orange and New Smyrna Beach.
Meurlot identified himself as an FWC law enforcement officer, and recognized right away that one of the men was in the process of “shakin’ and bakin’” – that is, creating methamphetamine with a plastic drink bottle.
The suspect quickly tried to hide the bottle inside a small cooler. Meurlot told both men to move to the front of their vehicle and then removed the dangerously combustible cooler to the safety of the parking area between his patrol truck and the suspect’s vehicle.
Despite Meurlot’s specific instruction to stay by the front of the car, Bates started toward the cooler and tried to destroy the methamphetamine evidence. When Meurlot tried to stop him, the suspect began to fight, grabbed the officer around the waist and tried to grab his gun. Meurlot quickly subdued Bates’ efforts and handcuffed him. Neither Meurlot nor the suspect was injured in the incident.
Due to the type of chemicals involved and the drug the suspect was creating, Volusia County Bureau of Investigations (VBI) and the Volusia County Fire/Hazardous Materials units responded.
Bates was booked and transported to the jail on the felony charges of resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer and tampering with evidence. Drug charges are pending. The other man was not arrested. All containers, contents and the vehicle were seized by VBI for evidence.