A man and a woman were arrested after a meth lab was found in a St. Johns County motel room early Tuesday morning, according to the deputies.
Eric Messler Jr., 32, and Tammy Roy, 32, are charged with production of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday deputies patrolling the area found a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of the Days Inn at 2560 State Road 16, near the Interstate 95 interchange, according to Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies said they responded to several reports of suspicious activity or strong odors coming from a room shortly before 5 a.m. Deputies said they alerted the night manager, who accompanied them to the room to investigate.
"When they made contact with the subjects, they immediately smelled what appeared to be meth being cooked in the motel room," Mulligan said. "(The) brought the subjects out, secured them, secured the area, we evacuated about 10 rooms surrounding the room the subjects were in."
Mulligan said that while none of the motel guests were in danger, meth labs can be extremely explosive, so it's protocol to evacuate anyone in the area.
"The main danger is (to) the first responding officers, because you never know what you're handling. You go up and immediately the door's open, you're faced with an exposure and that can have lifelong effects on first responders," Mulligan said.
The suspects' room, along with two adjacent rooms, was closed until contamination testing was completed.
Larry Zdun and his wife were staying in the room next door. They smelled the toxins and knew something was going on, so Zdun called deputies. Deputies told the Zduns to evacuate and leave all their belongings behind.
"I'm kind of ticked that I'm not going to get in my room," Zdun said. "I'm kind of ticked all my food's got to get thrown out. But other than that, hey, that's life, that's our world now, get used to it."
The Zduns have unfortunately had to get used it. Two years ago, Zdun's son, a maintenance man, was exposed to meth when he was ripping up carpet in an apartment complex.
"He's in the hospital today because that meth got in his system because it was in the carpeting and they didn't have anyone decontaminate it," Zdun said.
The 40-year-old is still dealing with the damaging effects.
"Two years he's been going through this," Zdun said. "He beat cancer, lymphoma cancer. He took the pill and he beat it. He can't beat this meth."
Now the Zduns have to wonder if this latest meth lab on the other side of their motel room wall is going to cause even more health problems for their family.