Mobile meth lab found in Fernley
Nevada Appeal News Service
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that a mobile methamphetamine lab was found Monday night off the side of the road in Fernley.
A call was received by dispatch at 8:40 p.m. The caller reported seeing a half-open suitcase with tubes coming out of it. Funnels and rubber gloves were lying next to it.
Lt. Jeroen Wynands of the narcotics division said the case also contained glass vials, beakers and “all the equipment necessary to create meth.”
Sgt. Russ Cadwallader of the Fernley substation said the responding deputy was well versed in narcotics and recognized the items commonly used in a meth lab. The scene was secured and the local hazardous materials team was alerted.
Cadwallader said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency offered assistance to Lyon County on Monday night, but its aid was initially delayed in favor of a local cleanup crew. When it became apparent the local team was unavailable, Cadwallader said the DEA sent a contracted hazardous materials cleanup team from Las Vegas to the scene.
The hazmat team arrived in Fernley around 10 p.m. Tuesday evening and, “in a matter of minutes, did an assessment,” said Cadwallader. Lyon County deputies secured the scene overnight until the hazmat team arrived.
He said the area of contamination was isolated to the dark gray suitcase, which “looked like an old Samsonite.”
No wet chemicals were present, Cadwallader said, and there didn’t appear to be any chemicals mixed together.
“Any final product was amazingly missing,” Cadwallader said Wednesday. “There was some red phosphorous and some ephedrine base product. It was obviously just the remnants of something that had taken place quite a while ago.”
Cadwallader said danger to the public was slight since the case appeared to have been thrown from a vehicle and landed 20 to 25 feet from the road in the bushes on the edge of an alfalfa field. The nearest homes were 100 to 150 yards away.
Wynands said the DEA’s hazmat team would dispose of the suitcase and its contents, and that it is considered too dangerous to attempt to retrieve fingerprints from the case.
Anyone with information about the mobile meth lab is asked to call the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department Narcotics Division at 577-5203 or the Fernley Substation at 575-3350.
Secret Witness turns 40 this year – and it’s helped solve many of Northern Nevada’s most violent crimes
Secret Witness tips have played a pivotal role in solving some of the most violent crimes the greater Northern Nevada region has seen. To date, Secret Witness has paid out more than $300,000 in rewards to anonymous tipsters. Rewards range from $50 (graffiti/tagging) to $1,500 (armed robbery) to $2,500 (murder).