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Firefighter arrested for alleged meth lab operation in Southern Arizona

Firefighter meth bust
Posted at 1:41 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 16:02:51-05

SELLS, AZ — A Tohono O’odham Nation member and firefighter is facing charges for allegedly operating a meth lab in southern Arizona.

According to a release from the U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement Agency, 36-year-old Stephen Folson and 29-year-old Desiree Saraficio admitted to conspiring to possess and manufacture methamphetamine after federal agents searched their mobile home in the remote area of the Village of Santa Rosa.

The search was conducted following a probe by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and federal officers with the Native American Targeted Investigations of Violent Enterprises (NATIVE) Taskforce.

According to HSI special agents, the investigation was initiated upon receiving an investigative referral from U.S. Border Patrol Intelligence agents.

NATIVE agents then began working on identifying leads that subsequently pointed to suspicious overseas purchases and shipments spanning several months.

According to the complaint, on Monday, Feb. 1 agents encountered Folson and his two teenage sons at the residence where they identified a meth lab in use and discovered a substantial amount of methamphetamine manufacturing equipment and precursor products which included glassware, extra-strength allergy medicine, ventilation systems, filtration systems, soda bottles, Acetone containers, various torches, charcoal lighter fluid, glass pipes, and other items.

Due to the high toxicity levels, the DEA hazardous materials team responded and discovered additional unknown chemicals inside various pieces of glassware.

Upon his arrest, Folson admitted he has been a methamphetamine user for approximately 9-10 years and has been cooking the narcotic for about 3 years.

He further detailed how he sources his ingredients from China and Canada by ordering them online and paying for them with his debit card. He also purchased from eBay Canada so as to circumvent the state/federal regulations.

Folson confessed that he knows the process of cooking meth is dangerous and toxic, but needs it to function.

He also advised he smoked more and more meth, to where now he must “smoke at least once an hour to stay awake.”