Local News

Easter Egg Hunt Turns Up Meth Component

Posted March 24, 2008 5:15 p.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2008 11:23 p.m. EDT

— Local and federal authorities were investigating the discovery of a chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine, which was found outside a local gym before an Easter egg hunt.

Beth Whitman said she and a partner at The Fusion Factory, a dancing and cheerleading gymnasium, were hiding Easter eggs for a children's hunt Saturday when they found a Thermos by an outdoor air conditioning unit. When they opened the container, the liquid inside started to foam out, Whitman said.

"We tossed it and ran. Then the smell came," she said.

The liquid inside was anhydrous ammonia, a volatile ingredient in fertilizer that also is a key component in methamphetamine.

"We find these types of ingredients disposed of sometimes by the side of the road, in ditches, laying out in the woods, anywhere," Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said.

A clean-up crew from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration disposed of the chemical. Several children, ages 12 and under, remained inside The Fusion Factory during the incident, and nobody became sick from exposure to the chemical.

"To dispose of dangerous chemicals in a place where they could be harmful to children, the very people we're here to protect, (is unthinkable)," Whitman said. "You feel a certain sense of violation, that nobody has any more respect for the children involved."