Posted Online: Feb. 05, 2013, 11:28 pm

Police claim 3 men accused of operating meth lab in Super 8 tried to destroy evidence

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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

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Michael Lee Crowell, 37, of 307 1/2 51st Ave., East Moline
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Cecil R. Streeter, 30, of 1915 16th St. C, Silvis
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Shane Weeks, 27, of 2601 18th St., East Moline
Police claim three area men accused of operating a meth lab in a Carbon Cliff motel furiously tried to destroy evidence as officers arrived to arrest them.

Michael Lee Crowell, 37, of 307 1/2 51st Ave., East Moline; Cecil R. Streeter, 30, of 1915 16th St. C, Silvis; and Shane Weeks, 27, of 2601 18th St., East Moline; were arrested shortly after 4 a.m. Jan. 27, each charged with aggravated participation in methamphetamine manufacturing.

Police were called to Super 8 motel, at 2201 John Deere Road, Carbon Cliff, after receiving a tip on Jan. 26 that Mr. Crowell was "actively cooking a one-pot meth lab," Special Agent Matthew Russell, of the Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group, testified on Tuesday at a preliminary hearing in Rock Island County Circuit Court for Mr. Crowell and Mr. Streeter.

Officers responding to the hotel around 11:40 p.m. Jan. 26 allegedly found chemical smoke seeping out of a second-story motel room where the three men were believed to be staying. Police standingin a nearby hallway reportedly witnessed a woman leaving the room with a toddler.

Agent Russell said the woman told officers Mr. Crowell and Mr. Weeks were in the room "salting out" a meth lab in preparation for manufacturing the drug.

Over the next several hours, the QCMEG agent said, police watched the three men leave the room several times to enter an adjacent one.During one of those trips, officers saw Mr. Streeter leave a room with a "plume of smoke" rising out of his pocket, Agent Russell said.

Mr. Streeter later told officershe had tried to hide a one-pot manufacturing tool in his pocket while moving between the two rooms and also had concealed it behind a motel room television set. Mr. Streeteralso said his fellow conspirators began hiding their meth production and "destroying evidence" when they saw squad cars pull into the motel parking lot, Agent Russell said.

Shortly after 4 a.m. on Jan. 27, officers executed a search warrant and found several meth precursors, including a plastic tea bottle with a hole in the cap, clear plastic tubing in a trashcan and a roll of aluminum foil, the agent said.

Mr. Crowell, represented by attorney Nate Neiman, and Mr. Streeter, represented by attorney Herb Schultz, have a March 8 pretrial conference scheduled.Mr. Weeks, represented by attorney Hector Lareau, appeared in court later Tuesday morning; his preliminary hearing was rescheduled for March 19, records state.

All three men remained in the custody of the Rock Island County Jail on Tuesday evening -- Mr. Crowell on a $160,000 bond and the other two men on $150,000 bonds.