Drug lab found, accused arrested and then released

Due to lack of bed space at the jail, a convicted felon arrested at his Powell Butte meth lab was cited and released from custody

   Because of lack of jail space, a Powell Butte resident was released from custody after being arrested at the scene of a methamphetamine lab.
   Christopher James Howlett, 48, was arrested on a variety of drug charges after law enforcement officials discovered the suspected lab Sunday morning. Members of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team and Crook County Sheriff's deputies armed with a search warrant made the arrest at the 10880 SW Reif Road location. Because of the lack of bed space in the county jail, Howlett was conditionally released.
   Crook County Undersheriff Jim Hensley explained the information that resulted in the search warrant and ultimate arrest came from an ongoing investigation. Although the CODE Team investigation encompasses the entire region, and the suspected meth lab was in Crook County, all the chemicals found at the scene is thought to have been purchased in the Bend area.
   Apparently Howlett, who is a convicted felon, has been manufacturing methamphetamine for some time. Most of the product, Hensley said, has been for his personal use, however it is believed he has sold small quantities of the drug in Bend.
   Howlett was charged with manufacturing, delivery and possession of a controlled substance/methamphetamine and frequenting a place where controlled substances are used/kept. He was booked into the jail and then released.
   One CODE Team member, who asked not to be identified, said he didn't understand it. "We busted him, booked him and they released him. A short time later, a man arrested on the charge of fourth degree assault was booked into the jail and they kept him."
   Howlett was cited to appear in court at a later date for arraignment.