EXTREMELY VOLATILE CHEMICALS: “Active” meth operation discovered on Cape Cod Hospital property… DEA Clandestine Lab Team sent in… Suspect in custody… taken to ER due to reaction… [CRIME SCENE VIDEO]
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UPDATE — 12/3/2016 — 12:00 NOON — The following is the actual YPD press statement:
Police Arrest Homeless Man for Meth Distribution
On Friday, December 2, 2016 at 2:00PM, Yarmouth Police Officers, Yarmouth Natural Resources Officers, and Cape Cod Hospital Security converged on the area of the former cranberry bogs off Bayview Street adjacent to Cape Cod Hospital.
The purpose of this pre-planned cooperative effort was to issue trespass notices to the homeless people that have established camps on the property and have become a nuisance to the surrounding neighborhood which has seen a spike in criminal behavior among some of the individuals; including a recent violent attack on a Yarmouth Natural Resources Police Officer.
At approximately 2:30PM, the team of Officer[s] discovered a remote camp site that contained five tents. Officers announced their presence, but did not get a response from anyone inside the tents. When the Officers checked the tents to ensure no one was inside, two tents were found to contain the items generally associated with a ‘shake and bake’ or an improvised methamphetamine lab. Officers found 5 gallon propane tanks, several dozen batteries, a burner, unlabeled 2 liter bottles with cloudy liquid, and an array of household chemicals. In one of the tents, Officers observed fresh and unspoiled food and two recent prescription bottles in the name of Stewart Catchings.
Officers immediately secured the scene and contacted the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. Upon seeing the pictures sent to them from the scene, the DEA activated and deployed their Clandestine Lab Unit, the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad, as well as the Massachusetts Hazardous Chemical response unit to the scene.
Shortly after locating this camp site, Officers found Catchings exiting the bog on a bicycle. He was detained and ultimately placed under arrest for manufacturing methamphetamine.
During the booking process at Yarmouth Police Department Headquarters, Yarmouth Police Proactive Anti-Crime Unit Officers spoke with Catchings and he stated that he “is a safe cook.”
After rendering the scene safe, the following items were seized from the two tents:
• 2 liter bottle w unknown substance
• backpack containing 4 vials of powder/residue
• clear tube
• bottle of muriatic acid
• bottle of lye
• lighter fluid
• 32 oz. Coleman fuel
• coffee filters
• various hand tools
• energizer battery package
• box of cold pack
• bottle with residue
• clear tube w/ cap
• blue trash can
• assorted clear tubes
• Gatorade bottle with hole in cap
• Sudafed wrappers
• camping stove
Some of the items recovered tested positive for the presumptive presence of methamphetamine. The items with powder and unknown substances are being submitted to be analyzed at the crime lab.
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as meth, chalk, ice, and crystal, among many other terms, it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.
Catchings—who is well known to Cape Cod Law Enforcement—is currently being held at Yarmouth Police Department Headquarters on $10,000 cash bail. He is scheduled for arraignment in the Barnstable District Court on Monday, December 5, 2016.
The Yarmouth Police Department highly commends the work of each of the local, state, and federal Law Enforcement and Public Safety agencies involved in this dangerous case; as well as the members of Cape Cod Hospital Security Team.
The Yarmouth Police Department reminds everyone that no one is allowed on the property in question and anyone found in the area without permission is subject to immediate arrest.
Refer To Arrest: 16-1261-AR
Arrest: STEWART J. CATCHINGS Age: 31
Charges: FELONY POSSESSION TO DISTRIBUTE METHAMPHETAMINE
[This release was prepared and distributed by the Command Staff of the Yarmouth Police Department.]
Initial HN Coverage & Video:
WEST YARMOUTH – [DEVELOPING] – The chemicals were so volatile, that after just touching and recognizing one of the bottles, a member of the Fire Marshal’s Office, already wearing an aluminum decontamination suit, reportedly jumped from the tent to suddenly put on a breathing apparatus; the chemicals so toxic, they could easily tear a person’s lungs apart like tissue paper.
It was quite clear, officials were dealing with an active meth lab.
Yesterday afternoon, police officials were checking a homeless camp in a wooded area on Cape Cod Hospital property when they came across an active meth operation set up within a makeshift outdoor tent compound.
As you will see in the following video, the site was loaded with volatile chemicals, explosive gasses, containers, and a stove used to cook meth.
Yarmouth Detectives secured the scene and called in members of the DEA Clandestine Meth Lab Team from Boston.
When HN arrived, the scene was teaming with personel from the DEA, Yarmouth Police, Yarmouth Fire Department, Yarmouth Natural Resources Department, and others…
The illicit operation was using what is known as the ‘shake and bake’ method to make meth. It’s a dangerous process which involves skipping normal steps and mixing hazardous chemicals together in a risky way to make meth faster than typical methods.
The first thing the DEA team needed to do was to make the scene safe. They then proceeded to collect and secure evidence.
After “phase one,” and as you will see in the video, HN traveled along with officers into the woods to get a better look at the camp.
The site still had an unbearable toxic smell, but the dangerous chemicals and components of the operation had already been made stable or removed.
HN learned police had already arrested a suspect reportedly involved with the lab. But while at police headquarters, the suspect needed to be taken to the CCH emergency room after reportedly experiencing some type of bad reaction due to chemical exposure.
Members of the DEA team advised police to put aside the suspect’s clothes and backpack for them to collect. Due to high contamination readings, even the suspects clothes were considered volatile.
Stewart Catchings, age 31, currently “homeless” in the Hyannis/ West Yarmouth area, remains in YPD custody for his involvement in the illicit meth lab operation. At the time of this report, Catchings was said to be at CCH being treated for exposure to hazardous chemicals.
Yarmouth Police detectives recognized the active meth lab yesterday at about 2:37PM. Officials remained on scene throughout the afternoon and night, with a clean up crew finally clearing the scene shortly after 11:00PM.
The following video begins with still images from the scene shortly after it was discovered. It also shows still images of DEA agents arriving in the woods to make the scene safe. It then switches to HN video, which includes a tour into the wooded area to get a closer look at the scene.
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YouTube Video – More information on Meth…
Discovery Channel on YouTube – More info on ‘shake and bake’ method for making meth…
© 2016 Robert Bastille, HyannisNews.com
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