Police: Thornton meth lab busted
Richard Gilpatric Jr. of 24 Mateus Drive was arrested Tuesday night and charged with manufacture of methamphetamine, as well as receiving stolen property. Gilpatric could be facing additional charges.
Police Chief Aimee Moller said Gilpatric was arrested after a seven-month investigation, which began with calls from concerned citizens.
Officers found a "one pot" methamphetamine laboratory within four feet of a child's crib when they searched the home. The child was not in the crib at the time.
According to a news release, the manufacture of "one pot" methamphetamine is a growing problem in the state. The process involves a highly volatile chemical reaction typically contained in a bottle. Due to the volatility of the process, the bottle can explode in a sudden burst of flames, or cause several feet of fire to shoot violently out of the bottle. It is not uncommon for a home to catch fire due to the production process. The gases and by-products of production of methamphetamine can also pose a serious health hazard.
Police said the public should be aware that "one-pot" methamphetamine can be produced virtually anywhere, including inside a vehicle. Manufacturers or "cooks" may discard the by-products anywhere, including throwing them out the window of their vehicles.
Some of the warning signs of "one-pot" methamphetamine production include plastic bottles containing a white or salt-and-pepper-colored powdery substance, and/or a strong odor of ammonia. Anyone who suspects they have found evidence should not touch any of the items and should call their local police department immediately.
The investigation was conducted by Thornton police with assistance from agents with the DEA HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas), DEA New England Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team, and officers from Ashland, Tilton, Bristol, Plaistow, Plymouth, Grafton and Merrimack counties sheriff's offices, New Hampshire State Police, New Hampshire State Fire Marshal's Office and the N.H. State Police Forensic Laboratory.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to call police at 726-3871.