Reputed meth lab raided

SALEM - A man already charged with domestic violence is now facing two felony drug counts related to an alleged meth lab in his apartment and his alleged possession of chemicals used to make the drug known as meth.

Christopher Neiswonger, 42, of 192 W. Pershing St., was charged Tuesday with manufacturing of methamphetamine, a first-degree felony, and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals to produce methamphetamine, a second-degree felony.

The charges came one day after the county Drug Task Force, city police and the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant for the apartment where Neiswonger and Christy Schnader lived.

Detective Brian McLaughlin, director of the DTF, said the case had been under investigation for seven months, but everything came to a head on Monday when Salem police were called to the residence for a domestic violence complaint. He said what officers saw and the results of the DTF investigation were enough to secure the search warrant late Monday afternoon.

According to a DTF press release issued by McLaughlin, other residents in the apartment building were ordered out of their apartments for their safety while evidence was removed. A chemical disposal company was on scene.

McLaughlin said lab material and evidence from a previous cook were found, along with material or chemicals needed for another cook, or making, of the drug. The process used to make methamphetamine is known as cooking.

The apartment building is located on the northeast corner of West Pershing and South Howard, opposite from a house on the southwest corner where drug agents and police discovered another alleged meth lab earlier this year.

When asked about the manufacturing charge being a first-degree felony, which is more serious, McLaughlin explained that the property is located not far from a preschool and children living in another apartment, elevating the offense to the higher felony level.

The search took place around 4 p.m. Monday.

In county Municipal Court Tuesday, Neiswonger had a pretrial on the domestic violence charge set for Oct. 17.

According to court documents, Neiswonger was allegedly grabbing his girlfriend, Schnader, by the foot and the arm, dragging her through the house and out into the driveway where she reportedly was screaming, but no one heard her. She also reportedly had a bruise on her face, which she claimed she got when he hit her the day before the arrest.

Salem police took Neiswonger into custody for the domestic violence warrant at 2:28 p.m. Monday after finding him hiding inside a residence in the 600 block of Fair Avenue. He was ordered to show himself and refused to comply with officers and resisted arrest. Officers then used a taser on him and he complied. A resisting arrest charge was filed against him Tuesday.

Neiswonger remains in jail on a $100,000 cash or surety bond issued by Judge Mark Frost in connection to the domestic violence case.

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