Man arrested after "mobile meth lab" found in Kalispell parking - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Man arrested after "mobile meth lab" found in Kalispell parking lot

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KALISPELL - A man is in custody after deputies say he was cooking meth inside his vehicle while parked in front of the Kalispell Kmart.

The incident began when a Flathead County Sheriff's Office deputy checked a vehicle after seeing it running and someone sleeping inside in the at around 1:30 a.m. on Monday.

"A deputy noticed a vehicle parked right by the front entrance to Kmart, which of course was closed at the time," said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry, who added that the deputy also observed what in his experience were the makings of a meth lab.

Curry said the vehicle was what's called a "mobile-meth lab" where methamphetamine is produced inside. He added that while the drug can be manufactured several ways, this way is one of the more dangerous.

"This is probably the bottom of the barrel, if you will, method. It's done in large soda plastic bottles. These labs are very dangerous and certainly can cause physical injury to anybody who messes with them," Curry said.

He also pointed out that dismantling the lab is a very dangerous job and can cause explosions, but just how volatile the lab is depends on what phase of the cook they're in or whether or not they're active.

"The mobile labs, they call them pot-labs, are pretty dangerous," Curry said. "They have the potential to explode, cause fires. So cleanup is pretty well orchestrated."

A Drug Enforcement Administration cleanup crew from out-of-state was on hand Monday to help process the scene, pick up the chemicals and dispose of them safely.

Curry said while the number of these kind of cases have dropped in recent years, it's a reminder that the drug can still be made locally.

"We used to have a much larger methamphetamine laboratory problem locally, but most is imported from Mexico but can be made locally," he said.

Curry said the suspect could face a felony charge of criminal manufacturing of unsafe drugs.

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