Meth lab found in vacant building

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Elizabethton Police Department officers identified components of a methamphetamine laboratory inside a vacant city business building after a crew sent there to clean it found suspicious items.
   Located next to Enterprise Rent-A-Car on West Elk Avenue, the building has been vacant for some time, according to Ken Phillips, director of the First Judicial Drug Task Force. "My understanding is the building has been vacant for approximately two months," he said. "The landlord was preparing it for a new tenant. They had not been inside since the last tenant moved out."
   When the cleaning crew found components of the lab they notified EPD officers who contacted the DTF. Members of the Elizabethton Fire Department also responded to the scene to secure the building.
   The lab had been dismantled, and among the items found were plastic tubing, muriatic acid, coffee filters, matches, a vehicle battery, paint thinner and containers of unknown liquids. "That's what our concern is, is the unknown types of liquids," Phillips said.
   A specialized hazardous materials team also responded to assist in the clean up.
   DTF agents processed the scene and took samples for testing. "We have taken samples of other things in there to see if they test positive for methamphetamine," Phillips said.
   Charges in the incident are pending, Phillips said, but added that he expects they will be filed soon.