Walker County Narcotics Enforcement Team officer Chuck Tidwell said the evacuation was necessary after a suspect allegedly tried to flush an active meth lab down a toilet in a home on Dogtown Road around 11 p.m. Wednesday night.
Jamey Dale Gilbert, 34, of Nauvoo, reportedly flushed the lab when NET officers executed a search warrant at his residence. Tidwell said meth labs are highly combustible at any point, but that made the situation even more dangerous. Carbon Hill Fire and Rescue was called to the scene in the event of an explosion.
“When we entered the home it was fully involved with smoke from the lab,” Tidwell said. “It was a very dangerous situation.”
Tidwell said four labs and a large amount of finished meth product were found inside the home.
Gilbert had just been released from jail on possession charges nine days earlier, Tidwell said. Glen Allen Davis, 39, Jerry Lawrence, 31, Jerry Clyde Kimbrell, 35, all of Nauvoo, and Michelle Miranda Uptain, 27, were also in the residence. All five have been charged with first-degree unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance, trafficking meth, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
Uptain, according to Tidwell, is three months pregnant.
“It’s hard for me to believe that a pregnant lady was in that house with all those fumes,” he said. “We had the fire and rescue folks check her out. I was especially concerned for her.”
The area around the home was evacuated for several hours. Tidwell said a Drug Enforcement Administration cleanup crew was called to the scene and wasn’t finished with the cleanup efforts until 6 a.m. the following morning.