Two people have been arrested, with possibly more charges to follow, after the Highland County Sheriff's Office discovered an active meth lab and marijuana grow operation at a residence at the corner of U.S. 50 West and Cheri Drive.
According to Highland County Sheriff Ron Ward, the HCSO received a call from a concerned citizen at approximately 2:59 p.m. Monday, regarding possible illegal drug activity.
A deputy was dispatched to the area, and upon arrival, one individual was seen fleeing from the house. The deputy was able to detain the suspect, and secure the location.
According to Det. Sgt. Danny Croy, of the HCSO, the first officer on the scene, "detected a strong odor of what appeared to be ether coming from within a camper. At that point, everybody was removed from the home and the camper."
The department applied for and obtained a search warrant, which was signed by Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David McKenna.
Multiple units from the HCSO - including a K9 unit, and its special operations unit containing equipment to neutralize meth labs - responded to the scene, along with Hillsboro Fire and Rescue, the Lynchburg Joint Fire and Ambulance District, and the Hillsboro Police Department.
"Upon making entry into the camper, I observed what appears to be a large Gatorade-type plastic bottle, which is commonly used in the manufacture of meth, with liquids and other items within the bottle," Croy said. "The bottle was, and is continuing to, react."
Croy said that when officers determined that the lab was active and reacting, they called for EMS and fire crews to be on scene for the neutralization of the chemicals. Chemicals used in the manufacture of meth are incredibly volatile, according to law enforcement. Croy said that during the neutralization process, the labs can often catch fire.
Croy, along with Det. Sgt. Richard Warner of the HCSO donned hazmat gear and self contained breath apparatuses and entered the camper, located just feet from the house, to extract the labs and take items into evidence.
Once the labs were outside the camper, along with the assistance of Jeff Murphy from the Hillsboro Police Department, the HCSO was able to neutralize the materials without incident.
Multiple marijuana plants of varying size, along with lights and gardening equipment were seen being removed from the home by officers.
While several individuals were detained at the scene, two people have been arrested, according to Croy.
Robert D. Coburn Jr. was arrested on a warrant on a probation violation, which was signed by McKenna when he signed the search warrant, according to Croy.
Mark Ware, who allegedly fled from the officer, was also arrested.
Law enforcement was on scene for several hours, neutralizing the lab, and taking items into evidence.
Upon completion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded to Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins' Office, for possible presentation to an upcoming session of the grand jury in Highland County Common Pleas Court, where additional charges are possible.