02/22/09 — Methamphetamine lab discovered in man's vehicle

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Methamphetamine lab discovered in man's vehicle

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on February 22, 2009 2:00 AM

DUDLEY -- About 80 percent of the parts of a rolling methamphetamine lab was found in the back of a car at Best Gas and Grocery on Friday afternoon, authorities said.

Investigators with the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said the evidence they have right now is enough to charge Mikel Landis Turner, who was brought up in the Mount Olive area but who currently lives in his car, with two counts of possessing a precursor chemical to methamphetamine.

However, Turner may face more serious charges as the State Bureau of Investigation tests the inside of the vehicle for signs that meth had been made in the car, authorities said.

If the SBI labs determine meth was made inside the vehicle or elsewhere under Turner's control, he could face a Class C felony, a drug officer said.

Sheriff's Office Lt. Chris Worth, who oversees the Wayne County Drug Squad, said Turner's arrest came about during a routine traffic stop on U.S. 117 Alternate business.

The stop was made around 3 p.m. Authorities did not leave until around 8:30 p.m. because of the danger of the chemicals used to make drug, Worth said.

A fire truck from the Dudley Fire Department was called in to stand by as SBI agents in hazardous materials suits worked to remove the threat.

"They have to go in and take samples of all the chemicals and see what state they're in as far as a danger, and they just wanted the fire department to stand by," Worth said.

The drug lieutenant said he could smell the telltale signs of methamphetamine manufacture when he stopped the vehicle.

"He had a little bit of meth on him, and I smelled the chemical odor, and we realized that we probably had a lab," Worth said.