One of the largest methamphetamine laboratories in the state has been discovered on an abandoned property in Sardis, according to the Saline County Sheriff's Office.
"It is one of the largest in Arkansas due to the amount of substance used to manufacture methamphetamine that has been discovered," Lt. Mike Frost said. "There are at least three gallons of iodine, boxes of matches, four of five generators used to turn meth oil into meth crystals and multiple other things. There are all different components here for making meth."
An anonymous tip on Monday led officers to 22909 Gravel Ridge Road and the items were found inside a disabled bread truck located next to an abandoned trailer. At press time no arrests had been made and Frost did not confirm if a person or persons of interest had been developed in conjunction with the incident. He said only that the investigation is continuing.
"We believe at least several hundred pounds of methamphetamine have come out of this place," Frost said.
He said it is expected that it will cost "probably $10,000-$15,000" to clean up the property. Frost also said that deputies had watched over the property since the discovery on Monday.
Sheriff's detectives, jail inmates, Saline County road crews, a hazmat team and the Saline County Office of Emergency Management employees were completing the cleanup of the property on Wednesday.
The hazmat team made numerous tests "to see how to neutralize" the methamphetamine components before properly disposing of the harmful chemicals, Frost explained.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality also is expected to conduct soil tests on the property. Frost said the sheriff's office will file for an abatement of the property.
Terrell Burks, director of the Saline County OEM, said the county also will attempt to obtain reimbursement from the Environmental Protection Agency for the cost of cleaning up the property. The county should learn whether this is possible within four weeks, he said.
The Saline Courier will continue to follow this story as it develops.