Several meth labs, meth components found at Knox County home wit

Several meth labs, meth components found at Knox County home with children inside

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The four were arrested at a home on Scenicwood Road. The four were arrested at a home on Scenicwood Road.
By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Four people were arrested Monday after a meth lab was found at a North Knox County home where three children were living.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office says deputies with the narcotics unit were conducting a welfare check on children around 4 p.m. at 5509 Scenicwood Road after an anonymous complaint that a meth lab was inside.

They met with Leslie Mendez, 26, and her three children. Mendez gave officers permission to search the residence.

When officers approached the back bedroom and laundry room, officers smelled a strong chemical odor. They then found items used to manufacture meth including: a can of Coleman fuel, 12 gas generator bottles, coffee filters, lithium batteries, six bottles of crystal drain cleaner, ammonium nitrate, 12 Sudafed pills, aluminum foil, digital scales, grinders and iodine salt. They also found seven one-pot meth labs.

Now caution tape blocks the front porch, warning signs are posted on the door. Fans air out the fumes. Johnnie Wade lives directly next door to the home that's been quarantined by authorities.

“Oh that scared me to death, that scared me to death,” said Wade.

Wade saw officers searching her neighbor’s home. Wade has lived on Scenicwood Road in North Knox County for nine years. She says she didn't know her neighbor well, but says there's always a lot of activity at the home.

“There was a whole lot of traffic over there all times of night late at night, cars parked on the side,” said Wade.

During the course of the investigation, Johnathan Thompson, 25, Emily Steinbach, 18, and Tammy Mercer, 47, arrived at the home. Deputies say there was an active one-pot meth lab in the back seat of their vehicle. 

Thompson was also found to be in possession of a handgun.

All four were charged with promotion of methamphetamine. Thompson was also charged with initiation of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in commission of a felony.

The three children were taken by ambulance to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital to be tested for exposure to methamphetamine.

Wade says she often saw children playing at the home.

"I said 'Lord I hope there's nothing wrong with them,'" said Wade.
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