JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Drug Task Force agents say they found “several one-pot meth labs” inside a car after that car went up in flames.
The Johnson City Police and Fire Departments responded to the car fire around 10:30 Monday morning below the I-26 overpass, just off East Main Street in downtown Johnson City. Although police say several vehicles were parked near the car, no other cars were damaged and fire crews were able to put out the fire quickly.
DTF agents says a man and a woman are in custody. Investigators say the woman suffered minor burns. Both have since been de-contaminated, according to the DTF.
Tara N. Hall, 28, and Simon Hughes, 31, of Johnson City were arrested on charges of felony drug paraphernalia and felony possession of methamphetamine.
Investigators say they found six “one-pot” meth labs and 10 other bottle components inside the car.
Officers say the car was registered to Hall, who was operating the car at the time of the fire.
Both Hall and Hughes are being held at the Washington County Detention Center on $20,000 bond. They are scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on October 28.
Update: Police say 2 arrested after meth lab mishap results in car fire
Police said a city couple was arrested on felony drug charges after they caught their car on fire while trying to make methamphetamine.
On Monday morning, Johnson City police arrested Simon Hughes, 31, and Tara N. Hall, 28, both of 293 Austin Springs Road, Apt. 98, after emergency crews responded to a report of a vehicle fire in the parking lot between East Main and East Market streets, under the Interstate 26 overpass.
In the arrest report, police said Johnson City firefighters from Fire Station 3 had extinguished the vehicle fire by the time officers arrived, but the vehicle, a white 1995 Honda Accord, had been consumed in the process. Additionally, police said firefighters told them a woman at the scene kept trying to retrieve items from the burning car, even after firefighters instructed her to stay back. Police said that woman, who was identified as Hall and as the car’s owner, was treated for minor burns to her hands at the scene.
Once the fire had been extinguished, police said, officers then began to search the vehicle. According to JCPD Capt. Debbie Botelho, who was at the scene, that search resulted in the discovery of what police would later determine was the cause of the fire.
“We did locate components of a meth lab,” Botelho said. “It looked to me like they had little shake-and-bake bottles.”
Upon that discovery, police said, Hall was taken into custody and officers contacted the Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force to process the scene. Police said Hall denied any ownership of the materials — which was later determined to be six one-pot labs and 10 other bottle components — saying someone else put them in her car while it was immobile within the last two weeks.
During the course of her conversation with officers, police said, Hall said her boyfriend had been riding with her before the fire and she had dropped him off at Medical Care, located across the street from the parking lot at 401 E. Main St. Police said the boyfriend, who was later identified as Hughes, emerged from Medical Care and began to walk away from the parking lot. After officers caught up with Hughes, police said, he also denied any knowledge of the presence of drug paraphernalia inside the car. Police said despite those denials, both Hughes and Hall were decontaminated and taken into custody.
After Hughes and Hall were taken away, police, fire and Washington County/Johnson City EMS workers remained at the scene to assist Task Force personnel as they sorted through hazardous materials at the scene. Task force agents burned some of the hazardous materials left at the scene, while other items were collected and itemized. The car was towed away from the parking lot around 2:20 p.m.
Hughes and Hall were each charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and felony drug paraphernalia. They were taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where they were each being held on $20,000 bond. Their arraignments were scheduled to take place this afternoon in Sessions Court.
Police said two city residents were arrested on felony drug charges after they caught their car on fire while making methamphetamine.
On Monday afternoon, Johnson City police arrested Simon Hughes, 31, and Tara N. Hall, 28, both of 293 Austin Springs Road, hours after police responded to the vehicle fire.
According to a JCPD press release, officers arrived at the parking lot of 401 E. Main St. to find a white 1995 Honda Accord engulfed in flames. Police said the subsequent investigation revealed the fire began as a result of the manufacture of methamphetamine in six “one-pot” labs. Additionally, police said they found 10 other bottle components.
Hughes and Hall were each charged with felony drug paraphernalia and felony possession of methamphetamine and were taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where they were each being held on a $20,000 bond. Their arraignments were scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon in Sessions Court.