Investigators want Mark Twain meth lab building razed
A Mark Twain house raided Tuesday is so contaminated it was condemned Wednesday by Storey County building officials because it contained chemicals to make methamphetamine.
“It was horrible,” said Trinet Commander Scott Jackson of the Nevada Division of Investigations.
Jackson recommended the home at 503 Sam Clemens be condemned because it is saturated with “chemicals that are explosive, caustic, poisonous or all of the above.”
Two men were arrested at the house early Tuesday following a month-long investigation. David Giovacchini, 43, and Jonathan S. Lyle, 46, were being held in the Storey County Jail on charges including trafficking in and manufacturing methamphetamine.
Storey County building official Dean Haymore said he ordered the building condemned Wednesday after examining it. He said the owners — Lyle and his parents — have 60 days to “abate the nuisance” — in this case, remove the building entirely from the lot.
He said not only do they have to pay for the removal, it msut be done by a company qualified to deal with hazardous materials.
Jackson said the home contained all of the solvents, acids and other chemicals needed to make the illegal drug.
Lt. Allen Veil of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department said investigators also found eight ounces of finished methamphetamine and recovered 13 different weapons: five rifles, two shotguns, three revolvers and three semi-automatic pistols.
Lyon County deputies started the investigation. They brought in Storey County and state investigators when the home turned out to be just inside the Storey County line.
Jackson said it took most of the night for his investigators, wearing protective clothing and respirators, to record and collect the necessary evidence. Following that, H2O Environmental of Reno came in to clean up and dispose of gallons of dangerous chemicals and contaminated equipment found in the residence.
But he said it wasn’t just the drug lab chemicals. He and Haymore said the house had no operating plumbing, sewage in the bathtub, a makeshift outhouse in back and filth throughout the building.
“In my 17 years, it was probably the most disgusting residence I’ve been in,” said Jackson.
“It was just unimaginable,” said Haymore. “If the drug addicts would see how the people make these drugs, it just turns your stomach.”
He said if the owners don’t pay for the removal and cleanup, he’ll put a lien on the property to recoup the county’s cost in handling it.
Haymore said he will order a further investigation to see if any of the contamination made it through the home’s septic system into the leach field and possibly the groundwater.
The Mark Twain area is served by septic systems and numerous wells.
“What’s really bad is it’s right across from a county park,” Haymore said. “That’s my highest concern — for the residents and children of Storey County.”
Both he and Jackson said clandestine drug labs are very dangerous as they can explode or cause highly dangerous contamination. Even the fumes from the process of making methamphetamine can be lethal.
Jackson said the strong smell of chemicals often gives away the location of clandestine drug labs.
He said people who smell a strong chemical or urine-like smell accompanied by people coming and going at odd hours or strange activity that looks like guards or security around a residence are urged to contact police.
He said the Trinet narcotics force can be reached at 687-1658.