Quick Response by Police Busts Meth Lab

Fruitland Park — Quick action by Fruitland Park Police early Thursday morning shut down a methamphetamine lab in downtown Fruitland Park and put a suspect in jail under $100,500 bond.

Police Chief Terry Isaacs said a Fruitland Park resident reported a noxious chemical smell in the vicinity of Berckman St. and Dixie Ave. just before midnight on Wednesday.

Police officers responded immediately, recognized the odor and traced it to an apartment house on Dixie Ave. about five blocks from City Hall and next door to a day care center.

“They knocked on the door, and when the door opened the chemical odor was particularly strong,” Isaacs said.

Officers arrested three suspects, one of whom—27-year old Anthony P. Anderson, a transient who was using the apartment without authorization while its tenants were away—immediately confessed.

“The great danger of a meth lab is the possibility of an explosion,” Isaacs said.

Police evacuated the apartment house, cordoned off the neighborhood, alerted neighbors, requested a search warrant and notified the Lake County Sheriff’s Hazmat team.

Issacs said his officers seized more than 100 grams of methamphetamine valued at about $10,000. The meth lab was cleared and participants—police, suspects and neighbors—were decontaminated within the next few hours, Isaacs said.

“Methamphetamine is a particularly pernicious drug that destroys lives and decimates neighborhoods,” Isaacs said. “We will not tolerate its use, possession or manufacture in Fruitland Park and we are proud that our residents feel the same way we do,” he said.

“This is not a social problem, it is a social evil, and we all have a responsibility to stamp it out,” Isaacs said.
Anderson was booked into the Lake County Jail and bond was set at $10,500.

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