October 22, 2012

Meth lab busted in Altona


---- — ALTONA — Plattsburgh-based State Police discovered a methamphetamine lab in Altona early Saturday morning. 

A shed, located at 404 Irona Road, was being used to manufacture the drug, according to State Police Lieutenant Scott Heggelke.

Police were alerted to the lab at about 2 a.m. when, while driving on Irona Road, they noticed a large amount of smoke coming from the shed. 

”They had kind of perfect timing,” Heggelke said.

“When they went inside, they found the makings of a meth lab.”  

The owner of the property, 46-year-old Danny R. Spear, was at the scene when police arrived, as was 47-year-old Claude Y. Leduc of Merrill. 

Both men admitted to making the drug, according to Heggelke. 

The State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team was notified of the incident and secured the crime scene, Heggelke said.

The State Police Narcotics Enforcement Unit, Altona Fire Department, Altona Emergency Medical Service and members of the Adirondack Drug Task Force also assisted at the scene.

In addition to methamphetamine and components used to make the drug, officers also discovered two marijuana plants on the property, according Heggelke.

Spear and Leduc were taken into custody and charged with unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, a class D felony. 

In addition, Spear was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor; one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation; and unlawful growing of marijuana, a misdemeanor. 

Leduc was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well. 

Both men were arraigned in the Town of Altona Court and remanded to Clinton County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. 

The investigation is ongoing, according to police, and additional charges are pending.

The Altona shed is one of several meth labs busted by police in Clinton County in recent months. 

“There’s definitely been an increase lately in meth labs being found,” Heggelke said. 

However, it is unclear if there has been an actual increase in production of the drug or if police are simply getting better at discovering the operations, he said.

Email Ashleigh Livingston: