DeKALB – Three people on probation for methamphetamine-related crimes in DeKalb face new charges after police said they stumbled upon an active meth lab about 1:30 p.m. Friday.
DeKalb police declined to reveal which of the three suspects they saw making methamphetamine in the upstairs apartment at 418 N. Eleventh St., but all three face the same charges; the most serious is punishable with between six and 30 years in prison.
Michael J. Dumiak, 30; Malgorzata M. Dutkowska, 25, and Jennifer Simpson, 32, were charged with aggravated participation in the production of methamphetamine, participation in the production of methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine manufacturing. Police said Dumiak and Dutkowska were living together in apartment No. 3 upstairs, while Simpson was living in apartment No. 1 at 418 N. Eleventh St.
Police said they knocked on the upstairs apartment door as part of their ongoing investigation sparked by the meth lab discovered in October at Travel Inn in DeKalb. The apartment building was evacuated Friday, and local firefighters and the Illinois State Police Meth Response Team removed the lab without incident.
Meth labs can create toxic fumes and explode, making them dangerous when operated in densely populated areas, such as the Pleasant Street neighborhood, DeKalb Police Chief Eugene Lowery said.
“Identifying, stabilizing and shutting down operations of this nature are a high priority,” Lowery said. “This is part of our ongoing proactive policing strategy to interdict crimes of this nature.”
Dumiak, Dutkowska and Simpson each pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of a methamphetamine precursor, a felony typically punishable with probation or up to seven years in prison, in connection with the meth ring investigation that started when someone found part of a meth lab in a garbage bin near the Travel Inn, 1116 W. Lincoln Highway.
Dutkowska is serving three years of probation, while Dumiak and Simpson each were sentenced to 2 1/2 years of probation.
Neighbor Jasmine Fowlers said residents at the apartment building were friendly and children often were out playing in the neighborhood, with the school bus stop located near the apartment building where police said they found the lab.
"It's crazy that it's right next door," Fowlers said. "We've been inhaling it. We could have blew up if they would have messed anything up."
Meanwhile, David Johnson, who lives in another downstairs apartment, was upset authorities wouldn't let him into his apartment while they worked Friday afternoon. His landlord, Richard Burke, declined to comment.
"It's Friday night," Johnson said. "And all I want to do is sit at home and have a beer."
• Daily Chronicle reporters Lawerence Synett and Danielle Guerra contributed to this story.