Urbana police believe soda bottles were used to make methamphetamine inside a Russell Street home.
A fight outside an apartment building on South Main Street on Wednesday afternoon led police to a connection with a drug investigation and the discovery of a “sizable meth lab” hours later in the 1000 block of North Russell Street.
About half a dozen green bottles containing the residue of a meth-making operation were discovered in the home’s crawl space. Three children were in the home at the time, police Lt. Seth King said.
Meth labs aren’t common in Urbana, King said, although police are running into more operations like the one found on Russell Street. By making the meth in pop bottles, the operation becomes easier to conceal — but also more dangerous, he said.
“You’re holding a bottle of volatile chemicals in front of you that could explode if it’s exposed to air at the wrong time,” he said.
Keith Powell, who lives across the street, said he saw his neighbors cleaning out the home just hours before officers arrived. He said he never suspected drugs were being made there until he saw investigators pulling on HAZ-MAT suits.
“It freaked me out,” he said. “They seemed to be good people.”
Police have been investigating at least one of the individuals living at the home for several months. Three adults have lived there at various times, although King said none of them are facing charges at this point.
Dismantling the lab involved police and the Urbana Fire Division, who were assisted by a Champaign County sheriff’s detective and a Sidney police officer, both of whom have specialized training in the neutralization of meth labs.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can call police at 937-652-4350 or the crime and drug tip line at 937-652-4357. Callers may remain anonymous.