Press-Republican

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July 18, 2012

Four meth lab arrests in region

PLATTSBURGH — A batch of methamphetamine was just about ready when a Plattsburgh City Police officer walked in on the operation Tuesday.

The officer was able to secure both the apartment in the multi-family building on Eleanor Way and three suspects, said Police Chief Desmond Racicot, as, across the street, firefighters were hosing down the men behind a green tarp.

Before that happened, though, residents of the other apartments in the building and homes nearby were evacuated, due to the danger of toxic fumes, smoke and fire created by the flammable ingredients used for meth.

The men were using what is known as the “one pot” method often employed to manufacture small batches of the drug, police said.

Eleanor Way is a cul de sac located off Hamilton Street between Peru and MacDonough streets.

Numerous law enforcement agencies turned out for the bust, including the New York State Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team. In special suits and respirator masks, team members worked to decontaminate the apartment and gather evidence.

The suspects were stripped of all clothing before City Fire Department personnel decontaminated them behind the tarp.

“Obviously, having a couple of meth labs in the area is a very bad thing,” Racicot said. “And finding another meth lab is the area is a very bad sign of our future.”

He said his department had been looking into a possible meth lab there and that initial effort had culminated with the officer’s timely arrival Tuesday. The investigation launched afterwards would continue long into the night; arraignment wouldn’t take place until police determined how much meth was there, which would in part determine what charges the men would face. And their names were not yet available, the chief said.

Racicot described the process of decontamination and gathering evidence as “very long” and stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of the building and residents.

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