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PORTAGE — Two men are facing several felony charges after an alleged "one pot meth operation" was found in their car during a traffic stop.

Thomas A. Wenzel, 38, Lake Station, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of two or more precursors and resisting law enforcement by vehicle while Randall J. Szostek, 34, Hobart, was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of two or more precursors and possession of a controlled substance with a prior conviction.

The charges came after a traffic stop Thursday afternoon.

According to a police report released Monday, a Portage police officer spotted a 1993 Oldsmobile on Willowcreek Road Thursday afternoon. The car, driven by Wenzel, made a sudden turn onto Sunrise Avenue without signaling. When the officer attempted to stop the car for the traffic violation using lights and sirens, Wenzel allegedly fled west on Sunrise Avenue and then came to a sudden stop at the end of Monnier Street near the Central Elementary School playground where children were outside playing.

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Wenzel and Szostek were taken into custody and transported to Porter County Jail.

As an officer began to inventory the car, what appeared to be precursors to a meth lab were found and the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Team was called, said police.

The ISP team recovered what appeared to be a "one pot meth operation" along with an HCL (hydrogen chloride) generator and other precursors to manufacturing methamphetamine.

Police also found several pill bottles, small plastic bags often used to package narcotics, 2-inch long straws with a white powdery residue inside, a box of fire starter sticks, an electric blender and two small propane tanks, according to the report. The substance later tested positive for methamphetamine. 

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.