Drug arrests uncover possible meth lab

ELYRIA — After charging three men with drug possession on Tuesday evening, a larger investigation led police to railroad tracks in Elyria, where one of the men allegedly had been making methamphetamine in a tent.

Matthew J. Novak, 21, of Elyria, Steven Starling, 43, of North Ridgeville, and Frederick Allgood, 22, of Elyria, were issued various drug-related charges around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ely Square near the 100 block of Middle Avenue in Elyria. Shyomill Smith, 36, of Lorain, was with the men and charged with contempt for three theft warrants dating back to 1996.

Around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Elyria Police Narcotics Division received a tip that there was drug activity occurring in Ely Square. When they arrived, police saw a black Jaguar parked near the square with three people inside, one of whom was a teenaged boy.

“(Police) saw activity that was conducive to drug dealing,” Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said, adding that two men were standing outside of the car, leaning in and speaking to the men inside.

When officers approached the group, they found Novak and Smith standing near the car while Starling, Allgood and Starling’s 15-year-old son sat in the car.

After a search, police found meth and a pipe inside the car, both of which were determined to be Starling’s. Starling was charged with possession of meth, drug paraphernalia, possession of criminal tools and endangering children for driving his teenaged son while in possession of drugs, according to police.

Police said Allgood was found with marijuana and subsequently charged with possession of drugs.

Novak, who was carrying a large hunting knife and a homemade pipe, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The incident caused police to launch a larger investigation, which is ongoing. Police learned that Novak and another man were making meth near the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and the 500 block of North Street, Costantino said.

The Lorain County Drug Task Force was called in Tuesday evening to aid with the investigation. Near the railroad tracks off of North Street, police found a tent, burn marks and chemicals used to manufacture meth, according to Costantino.

As a result, Novak was charged with the illegal manufacturing of meth.

Police don’t think Novak acted alone, Costantino said. They are looking for another man.

For Costantino, the discovery of meth production on the railroad tracks was unusual. “(Meth) is something we’ve seen, but it’s not something we’ve seen a lot,” he said. However, Costantino commends the speed with which police investigated the incident and made arrests. “It’s a positive thing (to put a stop to the meth production) before it gets to the rest of the community,” Costantino said.

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