Nearly four days after Sheriff’s narcotics investigators uncovered the 17th meth lab in the county this year, the man accused of running the “old-style” drug operation is still on the loose, deputies said.
Charlest Montgomery Fitzgerald, 57, of the 1700 block of Fitzgerald-Stowe Lane, allegedly had a red phosphorus methamphetamine lab at his property when investigators searched his residence on Thursday.
Deputies described the particular type of drug lab as rare due to the additional steps necessary for cooking the meth.
In recent years and in most of the meth lab busts officers said they have located in 2013, offenders constructed their operations using the one-pot or “shake-and-bake” method, which requires less ingredients and time.
Deputies also described the older cooking style as more dangerous than the one-pot method due to the emission of toxic fumes.
Neighbors alerted county drug deputies about the possibility of illegal activity at the home, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Officers guarded the lab, contained in a backpack for easy mobility, overnight Thursday, waiting for officials with the State Bureau of Investigation to respond to the site for clean-up the next morning.
Deputies said because the lab simply needed electricity to cook, it could have been tranfered by the backpack and setup at any other location.
Fitzgerald, who has yet to be apprehended, faces multiple charges including one felony count each of possessing methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine, possession and distribution of methamphetamine precursor chemicals and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.
He additionally faces one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.