Mobile meth lab allegedly discovered after drug deal in Willoughby

Two people were arrested in Willoughby after an alleged drug deal on April 19 and one of the suspects allegedly had a mobile methamphetamine lab in the trunk of her car.

At about 12:20 a.m. a Willoughby police officer on patrol saw an alleged drug deal take place at the Motel 6, 35110 Maplegrove Road. The two people then got into separate vehicles, a Saturn sedan and a Buick sedan.

According to a news release from Willoughby Police Detective Lt. James Schultz:

The Saturn exited the hotel parking lot and a second officer called in to assist followed in pursuit. The officer tried to initiate a traffic stop northbound on Route 91, but the driver, identified as Kristi J. Ries, 34, failed to stop.

Ries, of El Centro, California, drove onto Route 2 eastbound, traveling below the speed limit, and finally stopped at a motel on Reynolds Road.

While initially arrested for allegedly driving under suspension and fleeing and eluding police, both misdemeanors, officers searching her vehicle allegedly found a mobile meth lab in the trunk of her car.

The Lake County Narcotics Agency responded to the scene to assist in securing the meth lab. No one was injured during the incident.

Ries appeared in Willoughby Municipal Court on April 20 and, in addition to driving under suspension and eluding charges, was charged with fifth-degree felony methamphetamine possession, first-degree misdemeanor possession of drug abuse instruments and fourth-degree misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 30. Judge Harry Field set bond at $5,000 surety or 10 percent cash, according to court records.

Schultz said additional charges from the narcotics agency for the meth lab are pending.

Back at the Motel 6 in Willoughby, police located the Buick still in the parking lot, and two people were inside the car.

The front passenger, identified as 19-year-old Ralonte Z. Brown Jr., of Cleveland, allegedly was the man whom police saw perform the earlier drug transaction.

Police also allegedly found “what appeared to be marijuana and suspected heroin lying in plain view inside the front passenger side of the Buick.”

Brown appeared in court on April 20 and was charged with trafficking in heroin and possession of heroin, both fifth-degree felonies, and with minor misdemeanor marijuana possession, court records showed.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 23 and Brown’s bond was set at $5,000 surety or 10 percent cash, according to court records.


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