LAKE CITY, Fla. -- Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested two men after they discovered a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory.
Sergeant Ed Seifert, Public Information Officer for the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, said police were checking out an anonymous complaint at 3708 NW Huntsboro St., Apt 101 to investigate alleged illegal drug activity.
Seifert said when deputies arrived at the apartment they immediately smelled a strong chemical odor coming from the apartment. Seifert said the smell led deputies to believe methamphetamine was being manufactured in the apartment.
Deputies detained one man outside the apartment and found another man inside the apartment allegedly actively making methamphetamine.
Due to the overwhelming chemical odor, Seifert said deputies used a PA system and telephone to make contact with the man inside the apartment in an effort to get him to come outside. The man refused so police evacuated adjacent apartments as a precaution. Deputies also called in rescue units from the Columbia County Fire Department and Life Guard Ambulance because of the explosive hazard presented by the meth lab.
After negotiating with the man for over two hours, Seifert said the man surrendered around 12:15 a.m. Police arrested him without incident, Seifert said.
Seifert said members of the Multi Jurisdictional Task Force safely contained the hazardous materials which allowed residents to return to their home.
The two men arrested are identified as 32-year-old Keith Wheeldon and 41-year-old Michael Keene.
Police charged Wheeldon with manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of listed chemicals, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Wheeldon's bond is set at $30,000.
Keene is charged with manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of listed chemicals, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Keene's bond has been set at $60,000.