A joint investigation by North Ridgeville police and the Lorain County Drug Task Force led authorities to a couple suspected of operating a meth lab in a mobile home unit in the Pine Ridge Trailer Park on Wednesday.
Police termed the suspected meth lab operation “a potentially deadly situation” that was defused “due to the diligence of the detective bureau.”
North Ridgeville police detectives could not be reached Friday, but Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh of the Lorain County Sheriff’s Department, who heads the drug task force, said a 36-year-old man and 34-year-old woman residing in the mobile home searched by authorities are under investigation in connection with the suspected methamphetamine lab found in the unit.
The couple has not yet been charged, Cavanaugh said.
Cavanaugh declined to detail much of the investigation, including whether drugs were being sold by the man and woman, but he did confirm a search warrant was executed Wednesday at the mobile home park, 6610 Lear Nagle Road, based on “information that was developed between the two departments.”
A search of the mobile home revealed what Cavanaugh termed “an active (meth) pot” that was dismantled by a six-man response team that is a specialized part of the drug task force.
Comprised of three members of the task force, along with single members of the Elyria and Lorain police departments and Lorain County Metro Parks, the specially-trained team worked to avert a potentially hazardous situation that could have involved a fire or explosion, due to the often volatile mix of chemicals and other materials found in suspected meth labs, Cavanaugh said.
“There’s also the question of toxicity because you never know what these labs are going to have,” Cavanaugh said.
The North Ridgeville operation was not as sophisticated as some the task force has encountered, but “none of them are simple,” Cavanaugh said. “Each poses certain risks.”
What makes meth labs such safety risks are the potentially toxic chemical byproducts such as chloroform, phosphoric acid and hydrochloric acid, which can be created as part of the manufacturing process.
The county health department also sent personnel to the mobile home park to inspect the suspected meth lab for risks of contamination, Cavanaugh said.
Authorities set up an area near the mobile home unit where all of the chemicals and other substances from the suspected lab were taken to be examined as potential evidence before being sent onto the county crime lab for further analysis, he said.
The mobile unit also was sealed off to prevent anyone from entering it while the residence remains under investigation.