ZEBULON — Residents of Weaver’s Pond looked out their front windows Tuesday morning and saw an odd sight.
The SBI bomb squad was called to the Zebulon neighborhood after workers dismantling an old tobacco barn in an undeveloped, wooded portion of the development discovered what law enforcement officials said was an abandoned methamphetamine lab.
The workers reported their find to Zebulon police at about 9:30 a.m. What they saw inside the barn was a suspicious, tube-like container with metal end caps, wrapped with rubber bands from end to end. Agreeing the package looked suspicious, officers secured the area out the back of the cul-de-sac on Taramar Lane and called in the State Bureau of Investigation.
“It looked like some kind of homemade bomb, resembling homemade dynamite,” Zebulon police Chief Tim Hayworth said.
An SBI bomb squad team used a remote explosive to detonate the end of the container, and found the tube was full of size D batteries. A specialist with the SBI later evaluated the inside of the barn and determined it was at one time used to produce meth, according to Hayworth.
Numerous items commonly used to make crystal meth were found in the barn. Hayworth said lithium batteries can also be used in the process of making the drug.
Police also found a jar in the barn containing a clear liquid that was foaming at the surface. Hayworth said it appeared to be what is known as meth oil, which is an unfinished state of crystal meth.
The SBI had the site cleared by 12:30 p.m.
‘Everything was pretty intact’
Weaver’s Pond Development Company owner Glenn Futrell said he was inside the old barn three days before it became a temporary crime scene, looking at wood boards he is planning on salvaging. The crew of workers who reported the suspicious container were tearing the structure down at his request.
“I went over there on Saturday just to look at the barn because I was planning on disassembling it this week,” Futrell said. “I saw some stuff scattered around in there, but didn’t see anything that looked real unusual to me. But, then again, it was dark and I didn’t look around too well.”
Hayworth said it appeared the barn had not been used to produce meth “for a while,” but said there’s really no way of knowing when it was last used.
“It’s not been there 20 years, because everything was pretty intact,” he said.
Police interviews of nearby residents indicate there has been no recent unusual activity in the area. Hayworth says it is possible fingerprints may be recovered from items found at the site, which is about 100 yards from the closest residence in the neighborhood and is not visible from the street.
Anyone with information on the meth lab is asked to call the Zebulon Police Department at 919-823-1818.