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Lanesville meth lab called ‘largest, most dangerous’

Lanesville meth lab called ‘largest, most dangerous’
Lanesville meth lab called ‘largest, most dangerous’
Karen E. Adkins, 30, and her two small children lived at this 'filthy' home on St. Mary's Drive in Lanesville.

A Lanesville woman was arraigned Thursday on felony charges relating to a methamphetamine lab described as the ‘largest, most dangerous’ ever uncovered by police in Harrison County.
Karen E. Adkins, 30, 2400 block of St. Mary’s Drive, was in jail yesterday, with bond set at $27,500 cash only.
She is charged with dealing in scheduled one, two and three controlled substances (two counts), possession of methamphetamine and possession of two or more chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, all felonies.
Corydon attorney Amie Newlon was appointed to represent Adkins, who told the court she could not afford an attorney. A pretrial conference is scheduled for May 11 at 1 p.m. and a jury trial for June 16 at 9 a.m. before Judge Roger D. Davis in Harrison Superior Court.
Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. Chief Gary Gilley said the investigation is continuing and additional charges will likely be filed as a result of the search and subsequent dismantling of the lab, which included highly volatile chemicals in open containers.
Sheriff’s officers John Dismang, Tim Burkenmeyer and Gilley along with the Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team served the search warrant on the residence at 7 a.m. on March 13. Police were forced to wait until daylight because the large amount of trash around the home and a small building and two large guard dogs made it unsafe to serve the warrant in the dark.
‘We secured the site and called for the rest of the clandestine lab to come to our location,’ Gilley said in his written report. ‘The site was determined to be too dangerous for anyone other than the lab team to be involved in the initial search.’
The officers were joined by ISP troopers Paul Andry and Josh Banet.
Adkins’ small children, age 3 and 9, were not home when the warrant was served, but they have since been taken into protective custody.
Harrison County Animal Control Officer Mike Gentry was summoned to the residence to take control of the dogs. Gentry captured one of the large dogs and a small black puppy, but a male pit bull could not be found and remains loose.
Gilley said the residence was too ‘filthy’ for anyone to live there, including the dogs. ‘The house was so filthy they didn’t cook the meth in there,’ Gilley said. Instead, he said, they used a small bungalow on the property.
He said Gentry took the dogs to the animal control facility in Corydon due to ‘the horrible living conditions and the dangers posed by the hazardous materials that had been present on the property.
‘A very large ‘Nazi-style’ or ‘Birch reduction method’ meth lab was found in the bungalow next to the home, about 30 feet’ to the southeast, Gilley said. ‘This method uses anhydrous ammonia that is usually stolen from some source,’ he said. In this case, however, the suspects were making their own anhydrous ammonia.
The lab team donned air packs and protective clothing to search the bungalow and the home. ‘This is when they determined the type of meth lab was present,’ Gilley said.
‘They contacted the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and requested a haz-mat team to be dispatched to the scene to clean up and destroy the dangerous chemicals there,’ he said.
The lab team found numerous chemicals, including pseudoephedrine, lithium metal, anhydrous ammonia and organic solvents such as toluene, xylolxylene and several types of acids.
‘Methamphetamine was located on coffee filters, used foils, corner bags, syringes and pipes, HCL generators, reaction vessels, and anhydrous ammonia production vessels were also found,’ Gilley said.
‘All of the rooms in the home were full of trash and filth’ except a bedroom, but there was only a small walkway between two beds, and no place for the kids to play,’ Gilley said. ‘There was no furnace in the home. The only source of heat was from two small electric heaters connected to cheap electric cords.
‘There was no running water in the home to operate the commode, bathtub or kitchen sink. There was feces in the bathtub with mold on it and food in the kitchen sink with mold … ‘
Officers confiscated numerous pieces of evidence containing white powder and hypodermic needs with blood on them, Gilley said.
A small outhouse or toilet with no roof on it had apparently been built recently, Gilley said.
‘It had snow and ice inside on the seat, and all of the paper had been rained or snowed on,’ he said. ‘All of the buildings were surrounded by and full of junk and trash, including the house. This made it a very dangerous place for two small girls to live and play.’
Gilley said about 50 items that ‘represented a very large volume of hazardous material’ were destroyed.
He said Adkins told him she didn’t use drugs or know anyone who did. ‘She said she had rented the bungalow to her cousin and another person who lived in Louisville,’ but Gilley said she declined to properly identify those persons.
He said she told him all she wanted to do was to get her children and get away from ‘all this mess.’