Charles Patterson had video cameras outside his house on the city’s edge and a reported arsenal of firearms to protect the high-produce meth lab he operated there, charges allege.
Any safety he felt, however, was shattered when a special police team burst into his Tazewell Street home Thursday to cap an investigation years in the making.
Patterson, 51, now faces up to 30 years in prison on a meth manufacturing charge filed Friday.
The raid revealed volatile chemicals, powerful acids and nearly 170 grams of meth still in its liquid form that, when cooked down, would produce about five grams of the drug, Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Eeten said Monday.
At least several more arrests are expected, he said, as detectives round up people whom they suspect supplied Patterson with the materials to make the highly addictive drug since as far back as 2007.
Another meth dealer’s revelations that year put Patterson on the radar of investigators who have since formed Operation Copperhead, a combined federal, state and local law unit that has produced dozens of meth-related prosecutions.
“Obviously the person you want more than anyone is the (meth) cook, and we got him,” Eeten said.
Patterson’s alleged operation ranked in the mid-range of conspiracies involving meth that police have broken in recent years, Eeten said.
“This was definitely no small bust. It takes a chunk out of the meth business” in the Pekin area, he said.
Using a “no-knock” search warrant, police shortly before dawn raided Patterson’s one-story home at 2507 Tazewell in a rural area on the city’s east limits. Patterson had been sleeping and put up no struggle, Eeten said.
While the search warrant records revealed “multiple firearms” had been seen in the home, the officers found none, Eeten said.
Because Patterson had recently purchased supplies of muriatic and sulfuric acid used to make the drug, the first officers to enter the home carried enclosed air supplies, a prosecutor’s affidavit stated. Eeten said specially trained Illinois State Police units aided in the raid and dismantling of the meth lab materials in the house.
The raid followed numerous interviews with people who allegedly supplied Patterson with pseudoephedrine (PSE), the key meth ingredient contained in legally limited over-the-counter sales of certain cold medicines, the affidavit stated.
A former neighbor of Patterson’s also told police he knew that Patterson had made meth in his home numerous times between 2007-09, the search warrant request stated.
The investigation’s pace picked up rapidly over the past month, as detectives trailed Patterson using a GPS device hidden on his vehicle as he met with suspected PSE suppliers. The detectives knew he kept watch of activity outside his house through surveillance cameras, the affidavit stated.
Patterson remains in custody on $100,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing April 23.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin