Police search Patton Township home in investigation of potential drug link

mcarroll@centredaily.com October 4, 2013 

Authorities have searched a Patton Township home looking for evidence of a methamphetamine lab connected with the shooting of a state trooper last week in Jefferson County.

Police said that Kenneth Lees II, the son of the man who shot the trooper, had been staying at a residence on Vairo Boulevard while attending Penn State and may have possessed evidence linked to an apparent drug operation in his father’s home.

Kenneth Lees Sr., 60, shot and killed himself Sept. 26 at his Brockway residence after opening fire on troopers who were there to serve a warrant as part of an investigation into the possible meth lab, authorities have said.

Police said they think Lees Sr. shot trooper Brad Wilson through a window and then killed himself. Wilson was listed in critical condition in a Pittsburgh hospital after the shooting.

In a search warrant filed in Centre County, police said they discovered a marijuana-growing operation in Lees Sr.’s basement and working Ecstasy and meth labs in a shed behind the home.

Also in the lab was a poster emblazoned with the younger Lees’ name and the section number of an inorganic chemistry class at Penn State. Police said the poster was part of a research project.

Lees is an undergraduate student studying chemistry, according to the Penn State directory.

He was arrested Sept. 26, the same day as the shooting, after leading police on a 20- to 25-minute chase in Jefferson County. Lees had borrowed a friend’s vehicle to travel to Brockway, according to police.

Investigators said they found a note inside the vehicle written by the younger Lees that appeared to be a suicide note in which he allegedly described himself as the mastermind of the lab and his father as the laborer.

Lees has not been charged in connection with the drug operation. His attorney, Blair Hindman, could not immediately be reached for comment Friday evening.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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