Edgewater Man Busted for Making Meth in His Relative’s Selby Home
On Thursday night, Anne Arundel County Police were called to a home in Selby where they dismantled an alleged methamphetamine laboratory, according to a media release from spokesman Justin Mulcahy. Police took one person into custody, Joshua Lee Bell, 22, of Edgewater, who was charged with possession of methamphetamine and illegally manufacturing a controlled, dangerous substance.
Police were initially called to the scene in the 3600 block of 7th Avenue by the homeowners, who suspected suspicious activity on the part of their nephew in the basement of the home. The call came in just before 8 p.m. Thursday evening. When police got there, officers found a chemical odor and lab items used to make the illegal drug. Methamphetamine, or “meth,” is a highly potent and addictive stimulant.
Police called the fire department who notified the Fire Marshal and the Hazmat unit to be sure that the scene was safe.
Anne Arundel County Police detectives, including those specially trained to dismantle such labs, came in to gather evidence. The occupants of the home were taken to Southern District police station on Stepneys Lane in Edgewater where they were further checked by Anne Arundel County Fire Department personnel for possible exposure to hazardous material.
Meth is a chemical or synthetic stimulant related to and derived from amphetamine. According to the Foundation for a Drug Free World, meth labs are dangerous for a number of reasons. First, extracting the stimulant needed to make the drug requires that the lab “cook” the ingredients and mix them with other chemicals, which could include battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel and antifreeze, among others. These chemicals are dangerous and potentially explosive. Second, the makers of meth are often drug users themselves and can be disoriented or drugged and may not follow proper safety procedures in the lab. Third, the chemicals required are toxic and create a lot of waste. Some scientists note that production of one pound of methamphetamine can produce five pounds of waste. People exposed to the waste can become poisoned and sick as well.
As a result, police, fire and Hazmat officials need to be sure when they encounter a meth lab that the proper procedures and safety protocols are followed. The nature of the product and the manufacturing process can result in everything from a bad smell to toxic vapors and fires to deadly explosions.
In the Selby home, investigators found a number of potentially combustible chemicals along with equipment and containers, including flasks, beakers, tubing and glassware. Police also found notebooks and recipes for cooking up the drug, along with numerous chemical equations. Police believe that they found precursors for a more sophisticated lab capable of producing higher quantities of the drug, according to Mulcahy.
Police said that they do not believe Bell was attempting to make any type of bomb. Police also said that they found no booby traps in the home, which can be common with methamphetamine labs.
Mulcahy said that the home is currently being cleaned in an effort to render it completely safe again.