Kentucky police back out of meth lab home in fear of massive explosion

When the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force tried to serve a search warrant at 290 Gasper River Road in Auburn, what they saw would have made anyone freeze in their tracks. Inside the residence, they found a meth lab with 16 gas cylinders that were five feet high containing several gallons of what they suspect was anhydrous ammonia gas. If the explosion potential of those tanks wouldn’t make you start stepping slowly backwards, what they saw next just might. Police also discovered what appeared to be an explosive device that was still in the process of being completed. And if that weren’t enough to make you say “whoa”, maybe what the meth cook was doing with the electric lines would. The meth cook, police said, had been stealing electricity from the Warren Rural Electric power lines by using an altered meter with the main cables exposed. Yes, they were “live” wires. Authorities warned police that contact with the lines would likely result in their death.

The home contained a monitoring system that the meth cook was using to detect anyone on the premises. Surveillance cameras were attached to the home and the mail box was outfitted with a motion sensor and an alarm system.

Police called for back up from the Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations West Branch as well as the Auburn Rural Fire Department and the Medical center Ambulance Service.

The tanks were destroyed when it was determined they contained large amounts of anhydrous, which was far too dangerous to transport to another location.

“This was one of the most dangerous labs that I have been to in a long time,” said Director Jerry Smith of the South Central Kentucky Drug Task Force. “Our officers and emergency personnel who were involved put themselves in great danger during this type of cleanup. The chemical dangers alone are bad enough but when you add possible electrocution and explosion to the factor the risk goes way up,” said Smith.

An arrest is expected to be made as soon as the case is submitted to a state or federal grand jury.

Police strongly recommend that you should not attempt to investigate any home or area that you suspect may be being used to make meth. Meth labs are volatile and can explode at any time! Play is safe and contact your local law enforcement authorities instead!

Source:, “Agents fall in to dangerous environment“, May 27, 2008


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