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Former school board member arrested

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The Ellis County Press

FERRIS - Former Ferris School Board member and Ferris resident Lori DAnn Newton, 39, Van Buren Harder Jr., 38, and Van Buren Harder III (both of Irving) were arrested on three felony counts Wednesday, April 30.

The trio were charged with a second-degree felony, possession of certain chemicals with intent to manufacture, two third-degree felonies possession of anhydrous ammonia and possession of a controlled substance over one gram and less than four grams,

according to Task Force Supervisor Lt. Jerry Prince.

The arrests came after the Texas Department of Transportation Ellis County Division of Metro Narcotics Intelligence Coordination Unit, with assistance from Ferris Police Department, conducted a drug bust at 202 E. Fifth St. around 4 p.m.

'I asked them to wait until all school kids and buses were out of the area,' said Ferris Police Chief Jeff Cottongame.

'We did seize a methamphetamine laboratory,' said an Ellis County Sheriff ‘s officer assigned to task force member Lt. Richard Hunbley.

Anhydrous ammonia is a substance commonly used by farmers to fertilize their soil.

What appeared to be a five-gallon cylinder of anhydrous ammonia was found inside the home.

Cottongame said it is also used to cook meth.

At the request of the task force, members of the Dallas division of Drug Enforcement Agency brought a chemist to test and verify the drugs were meth.

Hunbley said, 'They (DEA) bring a chemist to do tests (on the drugs).'

A Dallas haz-mat crew was dispatched to clean up the lab following the raid.

'They come to clean up hazardous waste, any type of chemicals or glassware in the lab,' Prince said.

Nearby neighbors drove and came by to see what all the police activity was about.

'It just takes outsiders to do anything around here,' Ferris resident Bill Malloy said.

Cottongame said people don't understand these things take time and patience.

He stressed the officers work on the cases as they appear.

'This house has been under investigation for distribution of narcotics, that investigation led to this raid today,' said Cottongame.

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