HILL — Two people, including one who was injured several months ago when a methamphetamine lab caught fire there, were arrested early Friday morning at a west side residence where they were found actively “cooking” the drug.
James Carey Jr., 48, and Brenda Cheney, 30, were in the basement of the home at 217 Currier Rd. producing methamphetamine while Carey’s mother was sleeping on the first floor just above the lab, said Hill Police Chief David Kratz.
Hill police, along with representatives of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Merrimack County Sheriff’s Office, N.H. Drug Task Force, N.H. State Police and Bristol police executed a search warrant on a suspected meth lab at the Currier house and, in doing so, happened to come upon Cheney and Carey mixing up a batch in a “one-pot” lab.
The lab was analyzed by State Police and DEA agents and it was removed by remote controlled robot to an open field where the State Police Explosives Unit destroyed it with a water cannon blast.
Due to the dangerous nature of the “one-pot” lab, members of the State Fire Marshal’s Office also were on the scene and the Hill Fire Department was staged nearby. Meanwhile, Currier Road was closed to traffic until the lab was destroyed.
Following their arrests, Carey and Cheney were charged with felony-level manufacturing of methamphetamines and reckless conduct. They were arraigned at Franklin District Court and are being held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail at the Merrimack County Department of Corrections jail.
Kratz said Cheney was injured, suffering second-degree burns, in a Nov. 30, 2010, fire in a barn at the Carey property, seemingly caused by the production of methamphetamine. The barn and an attached apartment were destroyed.
That fire led to the continued investigation of methamphetamine activity in Hill and to yesterday’s execution of a search warrant.
The chief said he was glad that no one was injured, noting that the “one-pot” method is extremely volatile.
“They’re highly unstable and highly dangerous and the fire we had in November is just a good example of what happens when one of these things gets out of control.”
Typically mixed in a plastic bottle where all the chemicals interact, “it just takes one miscalculation and they basically explode in fireballs. Nothing good comes out of them, the product itself is bad” as are all the toxic, residual chemicals.
“There’s no upside to this,” said Kratz, who hoped, however, that Friday’s arrests put a crimp in the supply of methamphetamines in his community.