2012-06-06 / Front Page

Police charge 2 after meth lab components removed from home

By TIM GULLA
Ledger Staff Writer


A staff member from Advanced Environmental Options, a hazardous material cleanup firm, put on a hazardous materials protection suit before he began the process of labeling and packaging the alleged meth lab components found at the scene. A staff member from Advanced Environmental Options, a hazardous material cleanup firm, put on a hazardous materials protection suit before he began the process of labeling and packaging the alleged meth lab components found at the scene. Two people were taken into custody Tuesday after City of Gaffney police investigators discovered the components of a methamphetamine lab inside a West Oneal Street home.

Events began unfolding Tuesday morning when Detectives Philip Wilkie and James Bolton went to 303 W. Oneal St. on an unrelated matter and noticed the strong smell of the chemical acetone, officials said. The detectives then peered through a broken window at the home and observed a “haze” inside. The detectives then backed away and called for narcotics investigators.

Authorities, along with representatives from Advanced Environmental Options, a hazardous materials cleanup firm, subsequently removed from the home and property numerous household chemicals allegedly used in meth production, numerous used hypodermic needles and 14 plastic bottles in which meth had allegedly been made.


This photo shows some of the plastic soda bottles that investigators claim were used in a methamphetaminemaking process known as the “one pot” or “shake and bake” method. 
(Ledger photos / TIM GULLA) This photo shows some of the plastic soda bottles that investigators claim were used in a methamphetaminemaking process known as the “one pot” or “shake and bake” method. (Ledger photos / TIM GULLA) One needle found in the home was loaded with alleged methamphetamine, a detective said.

Taken into custody were Landon Perry Seals, 17, and James Lee Whelchel, 19. Both were booked into the Cherokee County Detention Center on a charge of manufacturing methamphetamine, according to detectives and online jail records.

Investigators were at the scene for several hours Tuesday morning. After the detectives finished documenting and photographing the items found, a staff member from Advanced Environmental Options donned a hazardous materials suit before placing all of the items and chemicals in separate containers for transport.

Highlighting the dangers of police work, a narcotics detective was forced to draw his service weapon and open fire after he was attacked by two dogs on the property.

The dogs had been roaming the yard around the home where the alleged meth lab was found when they singled out the narcotics detective, who was walking through the yard. The detective was observed trying to get away from the dogs but both dogs continued charging him. One dog bit the detective in the leg, forcing the detective to pull his service weapon.

The officer’s bullet struck one of the dogs in the right shoulder area, causing both dogs to retreat.

Gaffney’s code enforcement officer was immediately called to the scene and the injured dog was picked up. Officials at the scene said the dog would be sent to a veterinarian. There was no word on the dog’s condition as of press time Tuesday.

The dog bite left marks in the detective’s pants leg, but reportedly did not pierce his skin.

Based on reports the Gaffney Police Department files with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Tuesday’s find of an alleged meth lab was the sixth meth lab found within city limits this year.

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