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Meth labs, stolen vehicles discovered

by KEITH KINNAIRD
Hagadone News Network | April 6, 2010 9:00 PM

NEWPORT - Local, state and federal authorities uncovered three methamphetamine labs, eight stolen vehicles and a trove of suspected swag from burglaries in Pend Oreille County on Friday.

The raid at 172 Bobier Road northwest of Newport capped an eventful week involving multiple investigations and arrests, according to Pend Oreille County sheriff's officials.

On Tuesday, sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the southern end of Pend Oreille County to investigate a report of trespassing and a possible burglary on Allen Road.

A perimeter was set up and deputies were joined by a K-9 unit from Spokane County and Kalispell Tribal Police, which has thermal-imaging equipment.

Bobby Jo Ostby, 26, of Coeur d'Alene, was arrested for criminal trespass. Three other suspects, Jason Paul Conboy of Spokane, Shad Alan Johnson of Rathdrum and Chad A. Newby of Kingston managed to skip the dragnet.

On Wednesday, authorities were summoned to Metaline Falls, Wash., to investigate a report of two suspects pointing a gun from the window of a vehicle. The suspect vehicle was stopped in Ione, Wash., and one of its occupants, 36-year-old Holly Stigall, was arrested. The other suspect, Michael Patrick James, 37, of Athol, fled on foot.

A rifle reported stolen from a Sacheen Lake, Wash., home was recovered from Stigall's vehicle, as was a gas-powered brush cutter that was reported stolen from a cemetery in Metaline Falls.

Stigall, of Cusick, Wash., was charged with possession of stolen property, unlawful possession of a firearm because of a prior felony conviction and having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

Deputies and U.S. Border Patrol agents unsuccessfully searched for James, but obtained information that he may be at the Bobier Road residence. Johnson was also believed to be at the residence.

Later on Wednesday, Newby, 30, was arrested during a traffic stop in Newport. He was booked on outstanding warrants for driving under the influence and drug possession, in addition to new charges of criminal trespass, carrying a concealed weapon and vehicle prowling.

Kent T. Blankenship, 52, of Spirit Lake, was arrested as he left the Bobier residence on Wednesday night. He was charged with drug possession and admitted picking up James after he fled from authorities in Ione, which earned him an additional charge of rendering criminal assistance.

On Thursday, deputies and officials from Washington State Patrol, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms descended on the Bobier residence.

Neither James nor Johnson were found there, but two more people were arrested. One of the home's occupants, Robert Eric Lunde, 36, was charged with manufacturing meth. Alicia N. Green, 19, of Oldtown, was arrested for marijuana possession.

Officers were advised James and Johnson had been at the home earlier in the day. A search warrant for the property was secured on Friday, which led to the discovery of the meth labs and stolen vehicles. Sheriff's officials said other seized evidence included jewelry, coins, mail and firearms.

The search continues for James, Johnson and Conboy, who are considered armed and dangerous. Those with information about their whereabouts are asked to call (509) 447-3151.

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