Authorities investigating suspected meth lab in Clear Spring

February 07, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Washington County Sheriff's Office and Drug Enforcement Agency agents investigate a suspected methamphetamine lab at 39 S. Martin St. in Clear Spring on Monday.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

CLEAR SPRING — Police executed a search warrant at the two-story house at about 3:30 p.m., Mullendore said. A man and a woman who were inside the house were identified by police and allowed to leave, Mullendore said.

Methamphetamine labs can be highly flammable, Mullendore said.

A local police team consisting of officers from the Hagerstown Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency assessed the scene and requested assistance, Mullendore said.

“They didn’t feel comfortable with the volume of what they see, so they requested a (specialized) DEA team,” Mullendore said at the scene.

By Tuesday morning, no police activity could be seen at the South Martin Street house, and there was no police tape keeping people away.

Standing on the sidewalk, one could hear wind chimes on the porch of the house, which is across the street from St. Paul’s Cemetery in the Washington County town of fewer than 500 people.

Two men, who did not appear to be with police, left the house and drove away shortly before 9:30 a.m.

Mullendore initially said a team from Ohio would assess the situation and determine the manner in which it needed to be cleaned up, but he later said a team from Pittsburgh would respond.

A team of DEA chemists from Washington, D.C., arrived at the house at about 9 p.m. Monday and determined the material at the scene was consistent with methamphetamine production, Mullendore said. Those experts will test the material to determine if it was methamphetamine, Mullendore said.

The team from Pittsburgh, which had not arrived by 9:30 p.m., specialized in removal of methamphetamine labs, Mullendore said. Police expected to be working at the house until about midnight, he said.

Mullendore declined to say what led police to the house.

A large utility truck was parked outside the house Monday night and the front part of the home was illuminated. Posted on the front door of the home was an orange notice that read, “Warning. A clandestine laboratory for the manufacture of illegal drugs and/or hazardous chemicals was seized at this location.”

Martin Street was closed around the house to allow police to move easily in and out, Mullendore said.

Glenn Rager, who lives two doors down from 39 S. Martin St., said he believed the people who live in the house are related to the owner of the home.

Problems at the house seemed to have subsided in the last couple of years, he said. Before that, there were disturbances at the house “all the time. The cops were probably up there at least once a week,” Rager said.

Rager’s son, Allen, said it was troubling knowing police were at the house Monday about a suspected methamphetamine lab.

“It’s not nice to have two doors down,” the 18-year-old said.

Another neighbor said she was surprised when police showed up Monday.

“It’s crazy,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

- Staff Writer Dan Dearth contributed to this story.

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