A Taco Bell meth lab bust in Cedar Rapids, earlier this week, signals a growing public health and safety problem – meth labs operating in public places.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015: An early morning call about suspicious persons lingering outside of a Taco Bell restaurant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, resulted in new concerns about meth labs and the public’s health and safety.
According to news reports about the incident, when police arrived just after 4:30 am, they found two men lingering outside the building – one of whom was a Taco Bell employee – along with the remnants of a meth lab operation inside a utility room inside the restaurant.
Christopher Adam Matous, 31, and Kent Jerome Duby, 56, were arrested for a conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine charge. Matous is also facing charges involving the illegal possession of chemicals.
Taco Bell released the following statement on their website in an effort to allay the fears of its patrons:”Although the suspicious items found in the restaurant were not used in the kitchen, the employee has been
terminated and our franchisee is considering pressing criminal charges. The restaurant will reopen after it has been sanitized and inspected by the Health Department.”
I hope what they mean by “sanitized” is that the restaurant will be decontaminated. Cleaning up meth lab chemical contamination requires more than a mop and a bucket of soapy water.
August 7, 2015 Update:
The Linn County Public Health department determined that the initial meth lab cleanup performed at the Taco Bell, located at 2621 Blairs Ferry Road NE, failed to meet the voluntary meth lab cleanup standards set that have been established by the EPA. As a result, the LCPH informed Taco Bell that a second cleanup would be performed at the facility.
Taco Bell expects to reopen next week, after the additional clean up work is performed.