3 arrested after police find meth lab at hotel

Officer smelled meth cooking in St. Augustine hotel room


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Three adults were arrested Tuesday night in St. Augustine after a meth lab was found in a room at the Scottish Inn on San Marco Avenue, according to the St. Augustine Police Department.

Richard Dennison, Joy Estes and Rick Estes are all charged with manufacturing and possession of methamphetamine.

Police said they got an anonymous phone call Tuesday evening about a possible meth lab and went to the Scottish Inn to investigate.

An officer responding to the hotel said he smelled what appeared to be meth cooking coming from the room, and the St. Johns Meth Lab team was called to the scene.

The adjacent rooms were evacuated and the area was secured until the meth lab team arrived and searched the room.

Rick Estes told police that he allowed Dennison to take a shower in the room and that Dennison took a green bag inside the bathroom with him. He said after about 20 to 30 minutes, he knocked on the bathroom door and told Dennison to hurry up and that Dennison opened the door holding a Gatorade bottle containing a liquid that was not Gatorade.

Rick Estes told police that he then told Dennison to take his stuff and leave and that's when police arrived and knocked on the door. Rick Estes said the room smelled like "cat piss" and really strong bleach.

After finding an active meth lab in the room and interviewing the people in the room, officers arrested Dennison, Rick Estes and Joy Estes on the drug charges.

One officer reported that exposure to the meth manufacturing chemicals caused burning in his throat, coughing, difficulty swallowing and chest discomfort.