Police say Tilton meth lab was in same room where 3-year-old was present
TILTON - Police arrested seven adults and took one child into custody during a raid of what authorities say was a "meth cook" being conducted by members of a group suspected of making and selling methamphetamine in Central New Hampshire.
Two of those arrested, women who occupied the home, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child, while others were charged with liability for another person's welfare.
The arrests, which were made at 263 Laconia Road, were the result of an "ongoing investigation into the production and sales of methamphetamine, a very dangerous drug," Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier said in a press release.
Tilton police, agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the DEA Clan Lab Team served a warrant at the home shortly after 8 p.m., Cormier said.
As police entered, detectives reported seeing a "meth cook" in progress, Cormier said.
'The occupants were actively producing methamphetamine as the police entered. The lab had to quickly be removed by members of the Clan Lab Team and rendered safe to avoid fire,' he said.
The child, a 3-year-old boy, was in the room where the lab was found, Cormier said. He was taken into protective custody for his safety and transported to Lakes Region General Hospital for medical screening as the arrests were made in the home.
James Joyce, 41, of Salisbury, was charged with felony manufacture of a controlled drug; Michael Caissie, 49, of Bristol was charged with possession of controlled narcotics, and Dandeneah Gabrielle, 21, and James Dragon, 31, both of Belmont, were each charged with criminal liability for another.
Marie Chacon, 55, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child; Hon Luu, 52, was charged with criminal liability for another; and Debra Ann Miller, 44, was charged with criminal liability for another and with endangering the welfare of a child. All three women listed their address as the house where the arrests took place, 263 Laconia Road.
All were booked at the Tilton Police Department and transported to Belknap County Jail, where they were held on $25,000 cash bail until their arraignment, Cormier said.
Joining Tilton police and DEA officers were officers from the Franklin, Thornton, Ashland, and Bristol police departments. Also involved were representatives from the New Hampshire State Police, the State Fire Marshal's Office, and the Grafton County Sheriff's Office.
Tilton-Northfield and Franklin fire departments were called to the scene, as Laconia Road was shut down for more than an hour until the scene was made safe, Cormier said.
Cormier said police were saddened to find a child at the alleged crime scene.
'These meth labs are very dangerous for a community as they are volatile, can be explosive and create a hazardous environment. Sadly we frequently find children exposed to these labs, which can cause very serious health problems,' he said in the release.
'The Tilton Police Detectives and DEA Clan Lab Team worked very hard to identify this lab quickly and arrest the suspects involved," he added. "They were very professional in how they handled this dangerous situation and I am proud of the work they are doing.'