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April 15, 2011 - 8:27pm

Alleged meth lab in South Byron may be tied to first one found in Alabama 18 months ago

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, byron, Alabama, methamphetamine.

The arrest today of two South Byron residents for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine has its roots in a Nov. 12, 2009 meth lab raid in Alabama, according to Sgt. Steve Mullen, head of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force.

"If we're doing our jobs, a search warrant doesn't just end with that search warrant," Mullen said. "It opens doors into other investigations."

In the Alabama case -- the first suspected meth lab found in Genesee County -- Kenneth W. Mosholder and associates, including a woman who lived on Jackson Street, Batavia, were accused of manufacturing meth. Mosholder died while awaiting prosecution, but Mullen said the one-time Texas resident's recipe for making meth apparently spread throughout the county.

A handful of meth lab raids -- though not all of them -- since 2009 were based on threads connected to Mosholder's arrest, Mullen said.

"Once something like that grows in a community, it can take deep roots and take years to get out," Mullen said.

Many task force cases are built on other cases, Mullen said.

"Any single arrest looks like a snippet, but they're really scenes from the same movie," Mullen said.

Arrested in connection with the alleged meth lab in South Byron were Matthew J. Zon, 29, of Byron, and Tricia M. Tundo, 24, of Byron.

Zon and Tundo were apprehended during a traffic stop on Thursday night, but the couple wasn't discovered by accident, Mullen said. They were identified after months of investigation and observation while detectives built a case that would ultimately justify their apprehension.

Following the traffic stop, Zon and Tundo were allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine, meth lab material and drug paraphernalia.

Mullen said it's too soon in the investigation to say for certain whether Zon and Tundo were allegedly producing meth for sale. They have not yet been charged with any drug sales counts.

This morning, a contingent of investigators and crime lab specialists were on scene at 6319 E. Main St., South Byron, to execute a search warrant in an effort to determine whether Zon and Tundo were producing meth at their residence.

During the search, investigators carried out several items that appeared to be chemicals and implements used in the manufacture of meth. Test results on the items have not yet been released.

The search started with State Troopers in chemical-protection suits entering the house and retrieving two pet dogs, one a reportedly aggressive pit bull.

A deputy involved who helped transfer the dogs to the Animal Control vehicle said the dogs had a heavy odor of meth on them.

If Tundo and Zon were manufacturing meth in the house, the smell would permeate the entire residence, "just like burnt popcorn," said an investigator.

The odor of meth manufacturing, depending on the process used, according to sources, smells something like a mixture of burnt plastic and ammonia. 

Investigators were at the South Byron scene for hours, from before 8 a.m. until after 3 p.m. and Mullen was still at the office working on the case after 7 p.m.

And the execution of a search warrant in a drug case, said Mullen, is only a small portion of what goes into an investigation. It can take months to build a case in order to get a warrant, and the investigation doesn't stop with an arrest.

"The research and investigation really takes months," the sargeant said. "Even though we're at the end of a 12- or 13-hour day, the research began months ago."

Zon and Tundo are both charged with unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material, a felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance as well as criminally using drug paraphernalia.

The disposal charge is based on evidence gathered during the investigation that Zon and Tundo disposed of waste material along roadways in the area.

Mullen said the production of one ounce of meth produces a significant quanity of waste chemicals. 

One law enforcement official at the scene said that was one of the parts that bugged him the most about a case like this.

He said, potentially, some Boy Scout could be out on a clean-up day and come across some contaminated materials and become gravely ill.

The traffic stop Thursday night was initiated by Deputy Brian Thompson, whose K-9 "Pharaoh" assisted in the search of the vehicle.

Tundo was reportedly driving, though she allegedly did not have a valid NYS driver's license. 

Additional charges may be pending, Mullen said, and the Drug Enforcement Agency, which was involved in the 2009 raid in Alabama, will be consulted.

Besides the Genesee County Sheriff's Office and State Police, assisting at the scene were the South Byron Fire Department, Genesee County Emergency Services, the Health Department,  Animal Control and Mercy EMS.

More pictures after the jump:

Bob Harker
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It makes one wonder about how much was dealt out of the strip club.
Michele Case
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Why do they have to wear chemical suits and are those oxygen tanks?
Howard B. Owens
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The chemicals involved are potentially highly toxic.
Chris Charvella
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The chances of a meth lab blowing itself to bits due to chemical reactions is fairly high. The folks who suit up to investigate and shut them down have serious guts.
Kevin Squire
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I'm glad they got another meth house out of Genesee County!
Doug Yeomans
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Meth is the one drug that stands out from the rest. The contamination can spread to a far wider area than just the dwelling where it's being manufactured. The chemicals used in the manufacturing process are often dumped wherever convenient with no regard for anyone that might become contaminated. Quote from the link below: The processing required to make methamphetamine from precursor substances is easier and more accessible than ever. There are literally thousands of recipes and information about making meth on the Internet. An investment of a few hundred dollars in over-the-counter medications and chemicals can produce thousands of dollars worth of methamphetamine. The drug can be made in a makeshift "lab" that can fit into a suit case. The average meth "cook" annually teaches ten other people how to make the drug. Quote from the link below: Ingredients used to make meth: Over-the-counter cold and asthma medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, red phosphorous, hydrochloric acid, drain cleaner, battery acid, lye, lantern fuel, and antifreeze are among the ingredients most commonly used. http://www.kci.org/meth_info/faq_meth.htm
Lorie Longhany
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Mug shots for meth busts are always so revealing. If this drug can change the physical appearance of the user's in such a short amount of time, imagine the damage these chemicals do to our shared environment. The mug shot of the 24 year old looks like someone 10 - 15 years older.
Frank Bartholomew
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Doug, with that being said, I say kudos to the various agencies that have been investigating meth activity in this area. Knowing a potential lethal drug has been taken off the street, regardless of what level, and removing the potential for an explosion, or fire, makes me feel "ok" about paying taxes. Check out the "MSDS" on some of the ingrediants used to produce meth.(MSDS) Material Safety Data Sheet). Howard, have police determined if the lab was also either/both suspects residence?
Gary Spencer
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Lorie, those were my thoughts exactly, Tricia M. Tundo, 24, of Byron, looks like she's 40! and again, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
Justin Burger
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I found Matthew Zon's Facebook page. I find it hilarious that his favorite TV show is noted as "Breaking Bad"...haha!
Doug Yeomans
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Justin, Matt also lists employment as: Worked at Self Employed! I believe that Tricia Tundo is also known as Tricia Blatt. She's on Matt's FB page as a friend and she's a model, which would explain the sunken cheeks..wink wink. Comparing the two pictures, I'm sure it's the same girl. Sad..so, so sad. It takes years of recovery time to beat a meth addiction. That's for those lucky enough to recover from it at all.
Doug Yeomans
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I feel worse for those dogs than I do for the two people involved. Notice the tail tucking by both dogs. That's a sign of "holy crap we don't know what's going on and we're scared to bits." They'll probably both be euthanized and I think animal cruelty charges are in order, too. Making those poor dogs live in that contamination had to be hell for them.
wayne bell
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Mr Harker Your statement just so that you have a stereo typical look at Gentleman Clubs. Not all of them are drug havens and the people working there are trying to make ends meet in the economic times we have. Would you rather shut the place down then complain that those working there become dependent on the welfare system ? Until you know any of the facts maybe you should just keep your opinions to your self and not make STUPID, UNEDUCATED & IGNORATE comments.
Howard B. Owens
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FWIW: Somebody in law enforcement pointed out that the dogs are still the property of the suspects. They will be cared for at the animal shelter for the time being. Both dogs had current licenses and rabies shots.
Doug Yeomans
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Wayne, I think the word is "ignorant." (How ironic)
Doug Yeomans
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Howard, we all know what that means. The owners of the dogs are in so much trouble that they won't even be able to afford good lawyers. That means you and I will pay for their lawyers and they won't even be able to afford to bail out the dogs from doggie jail. I'm not confident that those dogs will be rehabilitated and put up for adoption. End result, days or months in doggie jail and euthanasia.
shelly mathers
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Are those dogs contaminating other animals at the shelter? From the post- "A deputy involved who helped transfer the dogs to the Animal Control vehicle said the dogs had a heavy odor of meth on them." Is this an issue? Or does the smell, or if any contamination, be removed from a bath or something? I also agree with Doug on the animal cruelty charges!
shelly mathers
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Also, that is Tricia Blatt. According to what i've been told she got married. Since the last time I noticed yesterday, her Facebook page has been deleted (her name on Facebook was Blatt. I don't think she has/had one with the Tundo name).
Jason Meyer
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Hey Wayne, Just some advise. You might not want to tell the world that you frequent this strip club in question. And FYI, you can make ends meet at McDonalds.
Debra Nanni
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Ha Ha, AWESOME response Jason. Many have made ends meet at places other than strip clubs. AND pay taxes, which they do not. LOL.. And I defy anyone to find a strip club that is not dealing drugs.
Doug Yeomans
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Erika, Tricia's FB page is gone but I already saved it for future reference. It was in the public domain so it was fair game. I won't use it for anything slanderous, though. I hope she gets the help she needs and escapes that life.
Dave Olsen
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I guess I'm missing something here, but what does this story have to do with a "strip club"?
Brandon Burger
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Dave - There is a strip-club in South Byron called 'Playmates.' It happens to be Genesee County's only 'adult entertainment' establishment. It also happens to be quite literally a stone's throw from where this meth lab was busted. I believe Bob was making an insinuation about strip-clubs and drugs. As a resident of South Byron, though, I can confidently say that the strip club is rather quiet and causes no trouble. If there is any drug activity in there at all (or any other activity), it doesn't spill out into the community. I have heard no complaints about the place other than the usual self-righteous moral complaints.
Dave Olsen
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Thanks, Brandon, obviously I haven't been through South Byron in a while.

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