September 1, 2014

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Lorain police shut down meth operation on Seventh Court

Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent John Butterworth Jr. tests one of the bottles that police think were used to produce meth. COURTESY LORAIN COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE

Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent John Butterworth Jr. tests one of the bottles that police think were used to produce meth. COURTESY LORAIN COUNTY DRUG TASK FORCE

LORAIN — Police shut down one of the largest meth labs they’ve ever encountered in Lorain County on Wednesday.

Lorain police Sgt. Tom Nimon said a caller reported a chemical smell wafting out of 903 W. Seventh Court around 3:45 p.m.

Police arrived, smelled the chemicals and eventually determined that there was a methamphetamine “cooking” operation inside. No one was home at the time the lab was discovered, but police said the investigation is ongoing and they expect to charge those responsible with high-level felonies once an arrest is made.

Lorain County Drug Task Force Detective Jim Larkin said investigators found eight clear plastic bottles inside the house containing the ingredients used to make meth using what’s known as the “One Pot” or “Shake and Bake” method.

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that is made by cooking pseudoephedrine, commonly found in cold medication, ammonium nitrate, lithium batteries, camping fuel and drain cleaner.
Investigators found those ingredients inside the house.

Once the pseudoephedrine is cooked in the bottles, it is separated out of the fuel, which serves as a solvent by using hydrogen chloride gas, which is created by mixing salt and sulfuric acid.
Larkin said 17 hydrogen chloride bottles were removed from the residence, which is one half of a rented duplex.

Larkin said law enforcement officer with specialized training were brought in to handle the investigation and remove the material from the house. He said that because cooking meth generates hazardous waste there are strict guidelines for its handling and disposal.

“Everything in there is infused with that, and it’s not a healthy situation,” Larkin said.

He also said the process creates a high risk of fire and explosion.

About 25 percent of meth labs discovered by law enforcement are only found after they catch fire or explode, he said. For instance, if the lithium batteries come into contact with water during the process, the combination effectively becomes a flamethrower, Larkin said.

“It’s kind of a dangerous situation, really,” Larkin said.

Investigators, including an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent, also found what is believed to have been completed meth, although it still needs to undergo testing. Nimon said field tests indicated the substance was meth.

Collecting evidence and removing the hazardous material took until 10 p.m. Wednesday, Nimon said.

Police said neighbors had been suspicious of the people living where the lab was discovered but didn’t actually know what was going on inside.

“They had no indication they were manufacturing meth next door,” he said.

Lorain County auditor property records list the owner of the home as Richard House of Wellington.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

  • Denise Caruloff

    7th court…always knew that was a drug destination…9th and Washington too..you always see folks lingering. wth!
    Thanks LPD….keep it going.

  • loraineritchey

    and that property owner has at least 28 other properties according to the Auditors web site sigh….I am so glad the Chronicle is naming the owners of these homes that cause such peril in our community ……. Thanks has to go to the Drug Task force for shutting this down before some terrible happened – Thank you

    • Joe Smith

      Its not the owners, it is the renters in most cases, if you know a way to do a check on renters that eliminates dirtbags, landlords everywhere are all ears.

      • loraineritchey

        Joe having tracked a lot of the crime and the who is who in my neighborhood I am always surprised more landlords don’t just run a check on their “clients” by accessing the Lorain Municipal Court records and the County records takes two minutes and every heroin dealer drug dealer that has been a renter in this area has a record of issues on both sites . I am sorry but a multi property landlord is a business and should be cognizant of how he or she and their business of rental effects the neighborhood and they bear a responsibility in my opinion of doing due diligence . If a landlord can’t maintain his property or control of his property then he / she has no business being in the rental business. Just my two cents

        • TrustServe

          Most drug dealers get their girl friend with out a record to rent a house for them. I don’t know that prematurely calling out owners with out doing a full investigation into what screening techniques they use makes the city any safer or contributes to the dialogue.

          • loraineritchey

            Hi I have done the homework and the research and I do know what I am talking about – for instance this is just the tip of the iceberg. it is big business – the owners need to be called out if they are more than a mum and pop rental they are “businessmen and woman-” and the same names and property owners keep cropping up when I back track the addresses of the problem homes in this oldest neighborhood.

            ** All data gathered from Lorain County Auditors site, Ohio Secretary of State June 29th 2013 “Clarification” the only LLC shown below are those that are not under known names – such as Spitzer, Veard, religious communities, funeral homes etc.

            The number of LLC’s tracked totaled “197” OWNING PROPERTY IN LORAIN.

            THEY OWN APPROXIMATELY 2,289 PROPERTIES / PARCELS BETWEEN THEM

            ” 193” TRACKED BACK TO “OWNER PLACE OF RESIDENCE”

            “146” OUTSIDE LORAIN LLC. ETC OR “75.64 %” percent of ownership is outside Lorain

            47 LORAIN OWNED LLC ETC. or 24.35 %

            ******Breakdown is as follows (OUTSIDE OWNERSHIP) PROPERTIES CAN RANGE FROM 1 PARCEL TO over 100 AT THE TOP END)
            AMHERST = 30 REG. LLC = 15.5 %
            ELYRIA = 12 REG. LLC = 6.2 5%
            WESTLAKE = 11 REG. LLC = 5.7%
            AVON = 10 REG. LLC = 5.2 %
            AVON LAKE =7 REG.LLC= 3.6 %
            NORTH RIDGEVILLE = 7 REG.LLC=3.6 %
            SHEFFILED LAKE/VILLAGE= 6 REG.LLC= 3.1%
            CLEVELAND = 5 REG.LLC= 2.5%
            VERMILION = 5 REG.LLC =2.5%
            COLUMBUS = 3 REG.LLC = 1.55%
            CALIFORNIA= 3 REG.LLC= 1.55% NOTE AT LEAST ONE CALIFORNIA OWNER HAS 58 PROPERTIES
            PENNSYLVANIA= 3 REG.LLC = 1.55%
            HURON- 2 REG.LLC = 1.03 %
            WELLINGTON= 2 REG.LLC = 1.03%
            LAKEWOOD= 2 REG LLC. = 1.03 %
            FLORIDA = 2 REG.LLC= 1.03%
            BEECHWOOD= 2 REG LLC= 1.03%
            NORTH OLMSTEAD = 2 REG.LLC = 1.03%
            MEDINA= 2 REG.LLC = 1.03%
            GRAFTON= 2 REG.LLC = 1.035
            AURORA= 2 REG.LLC= 1.03%
            BAYVILLAGE= 2 REG.LLC= 1.03%
            CANADA = 2 REG. LLC =1.03% (NOTE: ONE IS FOR A TRAILER PARK)

            BRECKSVILLE, COLORADO, TEXAS, AKRON, ARIZONA , TOLEDO, KENT, UNION TOWN, CHAGRIN FALLS, MARSHALVILLE, ROCKY RIVER, MILAN, NORTH ROYALTON, AKEMAN, CHAGRIN FALLS, NEWARK OH, LICHFIELD , STONGSVILLE, SEVEN HILLS, BRUNSWICK , ST. MARY’S, OBERLIN 1 REG LLC

        • Joe Smith

          I don’t think anybody purposely rents to people who runs meth labs or deals drugs as they would not be any benefit to do so as in the above example, the landlord may lose this house as it could be torn down due to contamination and as stated by TrustServe below, quite often they rent in other peoples names, they are not new to this game.
          Sounds like a business opportunity for you, start a business where you certify potential renters for landlords for a fee since you apparently have a way of doing so. And since you have this knowledge that every drug dealer that rents has a record it would only take you 2 minutes work to make some good money.

          Be safe and enjoy the weekend

          • loraineritchey

            Joe I will do it for free if it stops the glut of RSO’s and drug dealers and miscreants from moving into my street or you could check the Lorental blog and the Who is who in the O52 for the RSo’s and those on parole to start with or even follow any of the links easy peasy.

  • Phil Blank

    Live near there and never heard or seen any thing there druing the bust.

  • loraineritchey

    so will this house be rented out again –

    Making or even smoking meth leaves behind a stew of chemicals that saturates walls, ceilings, floors and carpets with meth as well as mercury, lead, iodine, lithium and poisonous solvents. For each pound of drug, meth “cookers” dump, flush or leave behind 5 to 6 pounds of poisonous waste.

    Exposure to even small amounts of these poisons can damage humans’ nervous systems, liver and blood production mechanisms. Small children suffer most. Exposure can trigger birth defects and developmental problems in babies in the womb. (Learn about drug-endangered children at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.)

    • Barbara Radke

      Wow if what you are saying is true, they need to tear that place down! Right now.