3 arrested in mobile meth lab bust

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St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photos of David Retalic, Nicole Smith and Jerome Bowen

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Two men and a woman were arrested following a report of a shoplifting and the discovery of a mobile meth lab early Sunday evening.

Deputies responded to a report of a shoplifting at a Cobblestone Village Beall's at 6 p.m. Sunday. They said a 32-year old Putnam County woman was seen selecting merchandise throughout the store and then entering a dressing room with an empty purse.

The woman was then seen walking out of the dressing room with no merchandise and a purse bulging full of items, deputies said. They said she was followed outside of the store, where she was detained and the Sheriff's Office was called.

Witnesses said they saw the woman trying to get into a vehicle that was occupied by two men and another woman.

Deputies said they found evidence of a methamphetamine lab inside the vehicle, as well as suspected drug paraphernalia and counterfeit money.

David Retalic, 35, of Okeechobee, was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, and had an outstanding warrant from Putnam County for failure to appear on a retail theft charge.

Nicole Smith, 32, of Palatka, was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and retail theft.

A third suspect, identified as 54-year-old Jerome Bowen, of Palatka, was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

All three remain in the St. Johns County jail on bonds ranging from $500 to $10,500.

The other woman was questioned and released.

The U.S. Secret Service is continuing the investigation into the alleged counterfeit money that was also located and seized during the investigation.

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