Two floors of a Motel 6 on the Northside had to be evacuated early Thursday morning after police found an active meth lab in one of the rooms.
Officers originally responded to the motel on Harts Road just after 1 a.m. after motel security called police about a dispute call.
"The security officer says as the officers approached, several individuals ran out of a room. When they ran out of a room, security officer went around there and the security officer was able to determine a container was smoking," said Lt. Jimmy Ricks with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
A response team consisting of Jacksonville Fire-Rescue, the police bomb squad and specialized JSO detectives trained to deal with dangerous chemicals were called to the scene.
Officers said they were searching for the suspects who ran out of the room and took off in an unknown car.
This is the third meth lab incident at a local Motel 6 in the past two months. The two previous incidents occurred at the Motel 6 off Youngerman Circle in Argyle Forest. There was a similar bust at the Homestead Suites on Baymeadows Road in March.
"Meth is now becoming the drug of choice for a lot of people," said Channel 4's crime analyst Ken Jefferson. "And they understand that the demand is high and if they can set up a lab and make it and distribute it, they'll make a lot of money in the drug trade."
For police officers, they must go out of the way to keep the public and themselves safe while investigating the crime scene.
"It's always dangerous, doesn't matter where it is. We always treat it with the response of our specialized unit. It's something that's very volatile," said Ricks.