METH LAB ON OTIS AVE @ 09 Apr 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2020

For more information, contact:
Brittney Carman
Community Relations Specialist
Office: (352) 341-7486
Email: bcarman@sheriffcitrus.org

METH LAB ON OTIS AVE

(Citrus County, FL) On April 6, 2020, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation into a clandestine methamphetamine lab located at 55 S. Otis Avenue, Lecanto. The residence was unoccupied at the time of the investigation. During the investigation, detectives with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Tactical Impact Unit (TIU) discovered the entire residence was being utilized for the illicit manufacturing of methamphetamine. A search of the residence led to the discovery of 75 one-pot vessels (the method used in the methamphetamine manufacturing process), 31 hydrogen chloride generators (HCL generators) and hundreds of precursor/essential chemicals and chemical containers used in the methamphetamine manufacturing process. What is uncommon in reference to this clandestine lab investigation is the fact that the TIU detectives routinely discover a few one-pot vessels during an investigation of this nature. The number of these extremely hazardous and flammable vessels indicated a severe amount of contamination at the residence.

“The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office has never, in its history as a law enforcement agency, seen or recovered this number of one-pot cooks at one location,” said Sheriff Prendergast. “Once again, our TIU detectives, patrol deputies, and crime scene specialists did a remarkable job dealing with a highly volatile situation that posed a grave danger to the community.”

Additionally, hundreds of pounds of illegal drug manufacturing items were collected from the residence and rendered safe for disposal. All of these hazardous materials will be disposed of through the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Methamphetamine Container Unit program.

Once the TIU members rendered the hazardous materials safe for removal from the residence, they conducted chemical swab tests throughout the residence. Virtually every wall and surface inside the residence tested positive for methamphetamine, base chemicals, and acids, which once again revealed the extreme contamination of the residence. The contaminants on these surfaces come about during the manufacturing process, which releases gases and vapors containing particulates of chemicals and methamphetamine. These particulates then attach themselves to surfaces in the confined area.

Because of the extreme danger posed to our community by the conditions discovered in this home and the presence of hazardous materials, we contacted our partners at the Citrus County Code Enforcement office, and they subsequently responded to the scene. The fact of the surfaces testing positive throughout the residence shows the long-term, extreme amount of manufacturing that had occurred. Due to this reason, Citrus County Code Enforcement will begin the process of seeking authority to condemn and demolish the residence.

This was an extremely hazardous and lengthy investigation and cleanup. Special thanks goes out to the Citrus County Fire Department’s Hazmat team who assisted the Sheriff’s Office TIU detectives and forensics personnel throughout this investigation. The case is still an active investigation and no arrests have been made at this time.