Two meth labs found at Hamblen Co. home

Two meth labs found at Hamblen Co. home

Officers seized 12 grams of finished meth, plus lots of materials to make more. Officers seized 12 grams of finished meth, plus lots of materials to make more.

March 3, 2005

HAMBLEN COUNTY (WATE) -- Crews began cleanup Thursday at two meth labs in Hamblen County that may be the largest find in the state. The labs also contained pipe bombs that were detonated by a bomb squad.

The incident began early Thursday morning when a worker at a Wal-Mart noticed a man buying products associated with making meth. The worker reported the purchase and the man's license tag number to law enforcement.

Officers traced the tag number to the house on Nelson School Road, off Highway 66. They received permission from the suspect's mother to search the garage.

When they kicked the door in, they found the original suspect's younger brother, Johan Jackson, a 23-year-old chemical engineering student at UT, watching them on a surveillance camera. He was armed with a shotgun and surrounded by a meth lab.

Jackson began a standoff with officers. They say he threatened to commit suicide. The standoff ended six hours later when they took Jackson into custody peacefully around 7:00 a.m.

One officer told 6 News that Jackson still had the shotgun in his mouth as he prepared to surrender. He said Jackson finally laid the gun down. He was later hospitalized to recover from the effects of noxious fumes.

The mother says she has no knowledge of her sons' involvement in meth making.

As they attempted to begin cleaning up the meth lab, crews found four pipe bombs.

The Knox County bomb squad assisted Hamblen officers, using a robot to retrieve the bombs, which were detonated in the woods around the house.

Officers say an out building on the property had an even larger meth lab than the one in the home's garage. The two labs combined are possibly the largest ever found in the state. And officers say it's the most sophisticated they've seen.

Three pounds of pot were seized and 12 grams of finished meth, plus lots of materials to make more. Deputies say they found 14 tanks filled with anhydrous ammonia. Other retrieved chemicals are typically found in various stages so responders must be careful. Inhaling the chemicals can damage the liver and lungs.

Crews average about three hours to clean up most meth labs. But these lab were so big, the crews spent more than eight hours.

Residents who live nearby were evacuated through part of Thursday night.

Officers also continue the search for Jackson's older brother, Kenneth Jackson. According to the Citizen Tribune in Morristown, he's previously been arrested at a meth lab in Bean Station. An officer tells 6 News he's out of jail on a $100,000 bond for a meth making arrest.

Johan Jackson was on probation from a charge of marijuana possession in Texas.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says that 70.4 kgs. of meth was federally seized in 2004 and estimates say there are nearly 900 meth labs in the state.

Tennessee accounts for 75 percent of the meth lab seizures in the Southeast.

6 News Reporter Steve Gehlbach and Anchor/Reporter Danielle Banks contributed to this report.

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