Sudlersville man charged in meth lab case

Record Observer - - News - By AN­GELA PRICE bay­times@kibay­

SUDLERSVILLE — Po­lice have charged a Sudlersville man in con­nec­tion with a drug lab found at a res­i­dence on Duhamel Cor­ner Road Sept. 22.

Har­ley Dean Duarte, 37, was not home when Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s de­tec­tives in­ves­ti­gat­ing a se­ries of thefts from cars in the north­ern part of the county searched the res­i­dence and found the lab. He sub­se­quently fled the area, po­lice said.

“While search­ing the res­i­dence they lo­cated what ap­peared to be an ex­plo­sive de­vice and ev­i­dence of a lab to pro­duce metham­phetamine,” ac­cord­ing to Lt. Dale Pat- rick, pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for the sher­iff’s of­fice. Duarte was ar­rested last week in Philadel­phia and waived ex­tra­di­tion, Pa­trick said. Deputies trav­eled to Philadel­phia Wed­nes­day, Jan. 25, to pick Duarte up and re­turn him to Queen Anne’s County.

Upon his re­turn, Duarte was served war­rants on charges of vi­o­la­tion of pro­ba­tion, 12 counts of man­u­fac­tur­ing metham­phetamine, pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance, pos­ses­sion of firearms while a felon, pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia and il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of am­mu­ni­tion by a felon.

Duarte was on pro­ba­tion af­ter serv­ing 18 months of a 10-year sen­tence for theft scheme, $1,000 to $10,000.

When they found the lab Sept. 22, de­tec­tives cleared the house and called in bomb tech­ni­cians from the Mary­land State Fire Mar­shal’s Of­fice and Delaware Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­trol. Sudlersville Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany, county EMS, county emer­gency ser­vices and Chop­tank Elec­tric also re­sponded.

Emer­gency re­spon­ders searched the house, shed and grounds, seiz­ing ev­i­dence as they went.

“It was more chem­i­cals, ace­tone, buck­ets, more Hell’s An­gels style than ‘Break­ing Bad,’” Pa­trick said at the time.

The search took most of the day and at­tracted at­ten­tion of neigh­bors and passersby, who wanted to know what was hap­pen­ing.

Neigh­bor Beckie Lofland called the news­pa­per that day to see if any­one knew what was go­ing on. When she heard it was a sus­pected meth lab, she said, “I fig­ured it was some­thing like that — that or a dead body — with all those cars.”


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