Cortland County sheriff’s arrest 4 in meth lab bust

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HOMER, N.Y. — Four Cortland County residents were arrested this weekend after sheriff’s investigators found a meth lab in a home where they had gone to arrest a woman on an unrelated warrant.

Deputies said they went to a home at 9 p.m. Saturday on Little York Crossing Road in the town of Homer to arrest 24-year-old Stephanie Wiers, wanted on a seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance charge from Cortland City Police Department.

When they arrived, they found Wiers, as well as Travis Hartwick, a homeless man wanted on a warrant by New York State Parole, sheriff’s Lt. Todd Caufield said in a news release. 

“As the officers were interviewing the two suspects they could detect a chemical odor coming from the apartment in which the two suspects were located,” Caufield said in the release. “Officers determined that the chemical smell was similar to that in which methamphetamine is manufactured.”

During the investigation, deputies found two more people — Robert Benson, 42, and Sarah Wacht, 31, both of Little York Crossing Road — try to leave the apartment, the release said.

Officers took all four people into custody on suspicion of manufacturing methamphetamine, Caufield said. Wiers, Hartwick, Benson and Wacht were transported to the Cortland County Sheriff’s Office while a uniformed officer “secured” the home until police received a search warrant.

The Cortland County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Investigators conducted the search warrant around 8:30 a.m. Sunday with the assistance of the New York State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team.

Police said they found and seized several items used for the manufacturing of methamphetamine. 

Members of the Homer Fire Department stood by at the scene while the search was conducted, police said. 

The sheriff’s office said they have arrested all four people they took into custody. Additional charges are possible.

Benson was charged with first-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, a B felony.

Wiers, Wacht and Hartwick were charged with third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, a D felony.

Benson, Wacht, Wiers and Hartwick also were charged with unlawful disposal of meth lab material, an E felony; and fifth-degree conspiracy and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors.

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