2 arrested in Lake City meth lab bust

Published On: Dec 05 2012 12:27:04 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 05 2012 12:29:36 PM EST
LAKE CITY, Fla. -

Two men were arrested in Lake City on Tuesday night after deputies found a clandestine meth lab.

Keith Wheeldon, 32, and Michael Keene, 41, are each facing several drug charges.

Columbia County deputies were called to an apartment in the 3700 block of Northwest Huntsboro Street about 9 p.m. to investigate an anonymous complaint of alleged illegal drug activity.

When deputies arrived, they immediately noticed a strong chemical odor emanating from the home. They believed that the odor was consistent with the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine.

One suspect was detained outside of the apartment while deputies continued their investigation. It was determined that another suspect was inside actively processing the drug, deputies said.

Due to the overwhelming odor of chemicals, deputies tried to make contact with the suspect inside via public address system and phone, and the suspect refused to exit the home, deputies said.

Deputies evacuated the adjoining apartments for precautionary measures. The Columbia County Fire Department and Life Guard Ambulance units were staged in the area due the explosive hazards of the clandestine meth labs.

Deputies negotiated with the suspect for more than two hours. At about 12:15 a.m., the suspect left the home and was taken into custody without incident.

Deputies and members of the Multi Jurisdictional Task Force were able to safely contain the hazardous materials and residents were allowed to return to their homes.