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UPDATE: Bushed? Police find man wanted on drug charges hiding in shrubbery

Max Hrenda • May 23, 2014 at 10:57 PM

Ten days after authorities discovered an active methamphetamine lab inside a Tree Streets residence, police officers found the man suspected of making it hiding in a bush behind the house.

On Friday, Johnson City police arrested Stephen R. Rankin, 44, 709 Franklin St., after they received a tip that he was violating an order of protection that had been filed by a woman who was also living in the house.

Police said Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies delivered the order to Rankin at his address May 13. Police said in the affidavit of complaint that after Rankin left, the deputies were told by another woman that Rankin had been “using and/or ‘making meth’ ” inside the house.

Police said the deputies then searched the house until a 2-liter soda bottle with a suspicious liquid was found in a trash bag in the kitchen. Upon that discovery, police said, the deputies evacuated the house and, in the process, found another man who was confined to a wheelchair in the front bedroom. The man, police said, was not able to leave the house without help.

Johnson City firefighters and police responded to contain and examine the materials. In the affidavit, police said the bottle was confirmed to be a one-pot methamphetamine lab. After receiving that confirmation, police issued an arrest warrant for Rankin on charges of reckless endangerment, unlawful drug paraphernalia and initiation of a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

On Friday, 10 days after that warrant was issued, the woman’s mother called 911 to report that she had seen Rankin on her daughter’s property. After officers arrived, police said, they found Rankin hiding in the bush.

In addition to the charges listed in the warrant, Rankin was also charged with contempt of court for violating the order of protection. He was taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where he was being held in lieu of two bonds with a combined value of $22,000. He will appear in Sessions Court for arraignment on Tuesday.

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Police arrested a city man on suspicion that he was responsible for an active methamphetamine lab that was found in a Tree Streets residence.

On Friday, Johnson City police arrested Stephen R. Rankin, 44, 709 Franklin St., after one of his housemates reported that he was in violation of an order of protection.

In the arrest report, police said they were contacted by the housemate's mother, who told them she saw Rankin on the property on Franklin Street. Police said that, after they arrived at the house, they found Rankin hiding in a bush behind the house.

Police said Rankin received the order on May 13 – the same day authorities discovered an active methamphetamine lab inside the house. Rankin left the house after receiving the order and, upon that departure, two witnesses told authorities they thought he had been making methamphetamine. The house was searched by Washington County sheriff's deputies and those witnesses, police said, and, during that search, they found a 2-liter soda bottle that was filled with an unknown liquid.

Check back here for more details on this story as they emerge.

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