EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY – The star spangled banner yet waves over the burned single-wide mobile home of a New Caney man facing serious charges after a fire at his residence revealed more than bad luck. Police also arrested a young woman who said she was showering in the home when the fire began.
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Brandon Eric Wilson, 44 and 23-year-old Megan Michelle Dirk, of Huntington are charged with first-degree felony manufacture of a controlled substance, 200 to 400 grams.
The New Caney Fire Department responded to the fire at 24077 FM 1485 east of Loop 494, but the intense blaze destroyed the structure. As is standard practice, the Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office responded, and it was investigator Joe Manz who noticed that something was wrong.
The first suspicious sign, Manz said, was multiple empty Sudafed boxes. Sudafed contains pseudoephedrine and the amount that can be purchased by an individual is regulated because the drug is a major component in manufacturing methamphetamine.
As he continued to investigate, Manz saw other tell-tale signs and contacted the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit, who in turn, contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety, who dispatched members of the area Methamphetamine Initiative Group (MIG).
Lt. Philip Cash, who heads up the SIU said when he arrived at the burned residence, Wilson was gone, but he returned and began to talk with investigators. The officers detained Wilson because of the clandestine meth lab components they discovered at his residence, Cash said.
“During a search with the fire marshal’s office, we found more components of a meth lab, along with solvents that contained meth and some finished product- about 2 grams (meth),” he said.
The SIU and MIG poured over the scene collecting drug related evidence which Cash said the MIG was transporting to Houston for processing and would be assisting with filing charges against the suspect or suspects.
Dirk also left the residence before officers arrived, but returned after marked units were gone and was subsequently arrested.
“There are other suspects we’re trying to identify,” Cash said. “We understand this has gone on for the last several days at this residence.”
“It may be the cause of the fire, we don’t know yet.”
On June 24, Wilson was sentenced to nine months probation for possession of a dangerous drug. Police records show his priors are not limited to the state of Texas and include multiple drug charges, auto theft, burglary, and weapons charges.
Dirk’s prior charges include theft and criminal trespass. Sunday was her 23rd birthday. The jail roster shows she spent the night behind bars.
The kitchen end of the older model mobile home was burned to the frame, for the most part. Yet, an American flag attached to that end of the structure appeared to be untouched, in stark contrast to the scorched remnants of a building.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.