MOUNT VERNON — Six people, including three members of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, were sent to the hospital following the discovery of an active meth lab in Apple Valley.
According to Sheriff David Barber, 37-year-old Russell C. Friend of 604 Lakeview Heights Drive, Howard, was arrested Thursday and is in the Knox County Jail on charges of illegal possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.
Barber said at approximately 2:45 p.m. Thursday, two detectives and a uniformed deputy contacted Friend at his residence as part of an ongoing drug investigation totally unaware that a meth lab was in operation inside the house. At that time, after failing to tell officers that chemicals were “cooking” adjacent to where they were standing, Friend opened a door at which time a cloud of chemical vapors covered the three officers. Also exposed to the chemicals were the suspect and his two small children, who all were immediately removed from the house.
The Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District and EMS units responded to the scene and after decontamination at the scene transported the detectives, deputy, suspect and the children to Knox Community Hospital for evaluation. All were later released from the hospital with the children being taken into the custody of Knox County Children Services and the suspect to jail.
Barber said certified clandestine meth lab officers from Knox and Ashland counties, who are part of the Metrich Enforcement Unit, responded to the scene to evaluate and remove the meth lab from the residence.
This investigation is continuing and Barber expects additional charges to be filed against Friend once the case is turned over to the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office.