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Published: Wednesday, 4/30/2003

Hillsdale arrests suspect in thefts of ammonia

LITCHFIELD, Mich. — Law enforcement officials investigating several incidents of anhydrous ammonia being stolen from a local farm supply store have arrested one man and are looking for others.

Hillsdale County Undersheriff Jeremiah Hodshire said that tanks at The Anderson's on Homer Road have been vandalized and ammonia stolen several times. Jason Burr Hursley, 24, of Tekonsha, Mich., was arrested March 29 after he allegedly was caught in the act, the undersheriff said.

He was charged with possession of a methamphetamine lab component, a felony punishable by more than one year in prison, and posted 10 percent of a $3,000 bond. Undersheriff Hodshire said Mr. Hursley has since cooperated with officials after allegedly admitting that he was going to sell the ammonia for purpose of making drugs.

Anhydrous ammonia is a component in making methamphetamine, an addictive drug that is classified as a stimulant. Michigan and several other Midwestern states have seen a dramatic rise in the number of clandestine labs used to create this drug, police said.

Undersheriff Hodshire said there have been at least eight incidents of anhydrous ammonia being stolen from the store in recent months.

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