ROAN MOUNTAIN, Tenn. - Update: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said deputies and hazardous materials teams completed cleanup of a major meth lab in Roan Mountain around 6:30 p.m. It took longer than expected due to the cold weather and snow, which created hazards for crews and made chemicals more dangerous.
Update: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Crews waited until Wednesday morning to start deconstructing a major meth lab, but the snow and cold winter made the hazardous challenge even more difficult.
People driving by a house off Highway 19-E would never suspect it was also one of the county's biggest meth labs. "It's a bio-hazard, toxic, nasty site that our officers had to deal with today," said Sheriff Chris Mathes on Wednesday.
"When you put on that AirPack suit, you are generating significant amount of heat. You're heating up really quick and you're also cooling down very drastically in this [weather], so you have to be really careful about hypothermia," said Mathes
The sheriff's department says if certain chemicals are exposed to extreme conditions, it could make the area more hazardous. "I've got seven lab techs that are actually going in wearing special gear to dismantle the labs one bottle at a time," said Mathes.
Tuesday evening the Carter County Sheriff's department discovered more than 100 'shake-and-bake' bottles, also known as 'one-pot' labs, along with other drug-making paraphernalia and human feces following a lengthy investigation.
The investigation led to the arrest of Timothy Blackwell of Roan Mountain. He's facing numerous drug charges as well as aggravated burglary -- according to the sheriff's department the house has been vacant for awhile.
News 5 spoke with the owner of the property, who is also the father of the suspect. He did not want to speak on-camera, but he tells us he didn't know his son was living in the home that he describes as 'unlivable'.
While it's a great victory in the war on meth for sheriff's department, people in the town were reluctant to speak with us about a crime that seems to have happened right under their eyes.
Sheriff Chris Mathes tells us due to the magnitude of the lab, they have called in the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, along with a team from Knoxville. They have also brought in a private Hazmat crew.
As for Blackwell, he's in the Carter County jail on $110,000 bond.
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