Strong chemical odor leads officer to meth lab, 7 taken in for questioning - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Strong chemical odor leads officer to meth lab, 7 taken in for questioning

Lawton_Police have uncovered two working meth labs in a house in downtown Lawton.  The chemicals in the air were so strong that investigators had to wait almost six hours before carrying out a search warrant.  Seven people were taken in for questioning.

This isn't the first time the house at the corner of Southwest 10th and "H" Avenue has been investigated, and the people inside were no strangers to meth either.  In December, 2007, a meth lab explosion in the house's shed landed one man in the hospital and nine people in jail.  Police evacuated the neighborhood after discovering a tank containing anhydrous ammonia exploded in a shed sending toxic gas spewing into the air.

An officer patrolling the area Thursday at around 4:30 a.m. said the chemical smell was so strong he was compelled to call it in.  The fire department was called to test the air, and the numbers came back so dangerously high that investigators had to wait hours before searching the house.  "[We] wanted to get all the occupants out so we could start ventilating the dwelling," said Lawton Police Department Special Operations Lieutenant Todd Palmer.

This particular meth lab was extremely dangerous because there were two separate locations for cooking the drug.  "They're all dangerous regardless of size," said Palmer.  "We had two separate dwellings were we did have the methamphetamine lab."  The people removed from the home looked on as the fire department cleared the house, and special operations began making trip after trip to remove the hazardous materials.  "[We found] Ephedrine, we found HCL, generator - or parts thereof - the ether and other paraphernalia, butane torches, pipes that are used to smoke methamphetamine, marijuana and assorted paraphernalia related to that," said Palmer.

One bit of evidence puzzled police.  A contraption that looked to be a tank with a pipe attached to it.  "We didn't exactly know [what it was], it hasn't been used, and it looked like either something that they had just made up or brought to this location," said Palmer.

Tommy Ward lives in the home, and also played a part in the meth lab explosion last year.  "He is going to be charged with maintaining a dwelling because of past occurrences.  Not only this time, but others," Palmer said.  The City of Lawton's neighborhood services to investigate whether or not the home should be condemned for safety and health.
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