Man arrested in running meth lab in EBR apartment

The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested a 32-year-old man and took a woman into custody Monday after discovering more than 100 bottles used in a “shake-and-bake” style methamphetamine lab in a Missionary Ridge Court apartment just off George O’Neal Road, authorities said.

State probation officers were tipped off about the meth lab after the woman, Thais Mahon, made a routine visit Monday afternoon to the Baton Rouge District Probation and Parole Office, said Pam Laborde, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

After failing a drug test at the district office, Mahon gave officers information that led them to believe there was “further evidence of criminal activity at her residence,” Laborde said.

Laborde said she could not elaborate on what the information was.

Mahon gave officers permission to check her apartment, Laborde said.

Several probation officers then went to the apartment and found Christopher Helmke and the meth operations, Laborde said.

Probation officers then contacted the Sheriff’s Office, Laborde said.

Sheriff’s detectives later found about 100 bottles inside the 16623 Missionary Ridge Court apartment that were being used in the shake-and-bake-style meth lab, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said in a news release.

The bottles were inactive when found, Hicks said.

Each bottle, or “vessel,” is considered a meth lab by Louisiana law, Laborde said.

Detectives also found a package of meth that weighed about 12 grams, or about half an ounce, including the package weight, Hicks said.

Helmke was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of possession of Schedule I narcotics and creation of a clandestine lab, Hicks said.

Mahon was taken into the Sheriff’s Office’s custody for probation violations, Laborde said. She was under the state’s supervision for forgery.

The investigation is ongoing, and more counts may be pending, Hicks said.

Hicks said Helmke and Mahon lived together at the apartment and were dating.

Authorities were still cleaning the scene as of 7:45 p.m., St. George Fire Department Assistant Chief Michael Armanini said.

Xtreme Cleaners, the company called to clean up the meth operation, told probation officers that the scene was one of the largest they had ever worked in Louisiana, Laborde said.