JSO: 3 arrested in Oceanway meth lab bust

Lab discovered inside abandoned home, police say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three people were arrested Thursday afternoon after setting up a methamphetamine lab inside an abandoned home in the city's Oceanway neighborhood, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

Undercover narcotics detectives were called to investigate about 3 p.m. at the house on Main Street North, tucked away inside a Northside trailer park, after three people were arrested for selling meth, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The names of the three arrested have not yet been released. But police said they told them the location of the house where they cooked the drug. 

No homes in the neighborhood were evacuated, but the area surrounding the home was blocked off for several hours as police removed any hazardous materials inside and cleaned up.

"These meth labs can pop up anywhere. It doesn't matter the neighborhood, if they have crime or problems or not, because they are pretty much insulated inside," said Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst. "They try not to draw attention, so in a quiet neighborhood, they can try to go unnoticed. Unless you notice usual activity or notice the odor from the home."

Unfortunately, Pete Dwinnell, who used to live in the trailer park, said he was not shocked to learn of the discovery. 

"About 17 years ago, I lived in there. I lived there for about two months and I had to leave. It wasn't good -- a bad, bad place," Dwinnell said. "Personally, I hope it gets taken down and rebuilt completely. I mean, if you're going to have a trailer park, at least make it something decent where people can go and feel proud to live."

This was the third meth investigation in the area this week. Smith said he's not surprised. 

"Meth labs are popping up, so it's a matter of people contacting law enforcement," Smith said. "I am sure there are others in the Duval County area, northeast Jacksonville area that have yet to be discovered."

Wednesday, police found what they believed to be a mobile meth lab near a Jacksonville elementary school. Earlier that day, two people were arrested at a rest stop after meth was found in a stolen car they were driving, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said.

According to the JSO crime mapping tool, there have been 19 total crimes in the last two months within a half-mile of the Oceanway home. There were no drug-related crimes reported in the area during that time period.

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