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Libby RN arrested for meth lab

| April 21, 2004 12:00 AM

A shoplifting complaint from a local store last week led to the arrest of a Libby woman on charges of possession and manufacture of methamphetamine.

Josiane Torgison, 38, was arrested Wednesday, April 14, by officers following up on a complaint that she had stolen matches — an item used in the making of methamphetamine — from a Libby store. Store employees also reported to police that Torgison had in the recent past been making numerous purchases of other items used to make the drug.

According to an affidavit filed in justice court by a detective working on the case for the Lincoln County Sheriff¹s Office, officers following up on the shoplifting complaint found Torgison on Wednesday afternoon at the Libby Care Center, where she is employed as a registered nurse.

According to the affidavit, Torgison denied the shoplifting charge and produced a receipt for a pack of matches and a food item she had purchased from the store. A witness working at the store was adamant, however, that Torgison had concealed additional matches under her coat and had hurriedly gotten into her car and left when confronted outside the store.

The detective said, in his affidavit, that he received permission from Torgison to examine her coat and makeup bag, which she kept in the medication room at the Care Center, to look for the stolen matches. He said he also found a cloth bag in the room, and while Torgison denied owning the bag she became agitated and asked if he had a warrant when he suggested looking inside to see if he could determine its ownership. After Torgison again denied that the bag was hers, the detective looked inside and found a light bulb modified for smoking methamphetamine, two straws used for snorting the drug and two folded coffee filters containing a white powder. Other employees with access to the room said they did not keep personal property there, the detective said in the affidavit.

Torgison was arrested on shoplifting charges based on the complaint from the store. At the county jail, a number of pills determined to be a controlled substance were found in a plastic bag inside her makeup bag.

Two detectives later visited the residence Torgison shares with another person at 156 Spencer Road. According to the affidavit, they received permission from the other resident to conduct a search and found a methamphetamine lab in the kitchen. The other resident denied any knowledge of the lab and told the detectives it must have belonged to Torgison.

Torgison was charged with two counts of felony drug possession, criminal production or manufacture of dangerous drugs, operation of a clandestine lab and possession of drug paraphernalia. She is being held in the county jail on $100,000 bond.