Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 2, 2014

UPDATE: Three arrested in two meth lab busts

TRAVERSE CITY — Two suspects who stumbled upon a bust at a suspected Barlow Street methamphetamine lab inadvertently led authorities to a third suspect’s arrest at another drug bust.

William Ray Stevenson II, 37, of Traverse City, and Elizabeth Rose Smith, 29, of Traverse City, face charges of operating meth labs at their respective homes. A third suspect, Jacob Thomas Kobza, 30, of Traverse City, is accused of fleeing from authorities.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney called a recent spate of local drug cases, especially those that involve meth, a “disturbing trend.”

“We’ve seen it in some of our adjoining counties and we’re seeing it more often in Traverse City,” he said.

Traverse Narcotics Team officers and Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant late Thursday at 1629 Barlow St. and found items used in a suspected meth lab.

Kobza drove up to the home during the search with Stevenson. Court documents state TNT officers began to yell and chase the vehicle on foot after Kobza pulled away and a sheriff’s deputy eventually stopped Kobza’s vehicle on Woodward Street.

Detectives then obtained information that led them to Smith’s apartment at 1236 Oakland St. Traverse City police and TNT officers searched Smith’s home early Friday morning and found what they considered an “active” meth lab.

“I would definitely say the first residence and investigation led to the second residence,” said TNT Detective Lt. Daniel King.

King said the suspects used the “one pot method” in both meth labs. One pot labs typically consist of a single container such as a soft drink bottle in which ingredients are combined.

“It’s pretty rare to find anything else nowadays,” King said.

Kobza faces charges of fleeing and eluding, operating while intoxicated and possession of methamphetamine. Records show Kobza in 2012 pleaded guilty to drug possession and maintaining a drug house in 13th Circuit Court. He’s charged as a habitual offender.

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