Bellevue Police help bust meth lab in Maple Valley

Bellevue Police detectives, in a joint operation with King County SWAT officers, raided a methamphetamine lab in Maple Valley Wednesday night. A 46-year-old Maple Valley man was arrested and booked into the King County Jail on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine.

Bellevue Police detectives turned up evidence about the meth lab, in an abandoned house in Maple Valley, through investigations of car thefts in Bellevue. The detectives began surveillance and observed the suspect buying materials used for meth production. Based on that information, they obtained an arrest warrant for the suspect and a search warrant for the abandoned house.

A stake-out of the lab began on the Wednesday evening, while the suspect was inside. Due to the toxic and volatile nature of methamphetamine production, the team waited until he departed and arrested him during a traffic stop.

King County SWAT then executed the search warrant on the home, and found what one SWAT team member described as the largest lab he had seen in several years. The size of the lab was such that it was expected to take up to 10 hours for the King County HAZMAT team to tear it down safely. The work was held until daylight for safety reasons.

The Bellevue detectives targeting car thefts are in the department’s Special Enforcement Team. Due in great part to the SET, working with other police divisions and King County prosecutors, car thefts in Bellevue have dropped from a high of 608 in 2004 to 274 last year, a 65 percent decrease.