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Staff report
Rowan deputies uncovered a methamphetamine lab in an outbuilding near Faith Tuesday afternoon.
A lab clean up crew from Columbia, S.C., was called to the 215 Cliff Eagle Drive location Tuesday evening to dismantle and remove the contents. The location is off Mount Hope Church Road east of Old Concord Road.
The lab, referred to as a meth box because of its portability, was inside a small utility building adjacent to a single-wide mobile home.
Capt. John Sifford of the Rowan Sheriff’s Office said deputies executed a search warrant shortly after noon at the residence of Michael Todd Hess. The warrant was based on information from concerned citizens according to Sifford.
Hess is in the Rowan County Detention Center awaiting trial on charges of breaking and entering Love’s Garage in Faith .
The garage owner’s son, Jordan Love, came home from the Faith July Fourth activities and found Hess inside the garage along with Hess’s 8-year-old son.
Hess has remained jailed and the Department of Social Services intervened on behalf of the child.
After discovering the potential lab, deputies called in the State Bureau of Investigation, which brought in a team in specialized suits to safely examine the materials. The team includes a chemist to examine the ingredients and determine if the equipment and materials are for making meth.
The SBI contracts with the Columbia, S.C., company to clean up the site.
Deputies also searched the mobile home.
As of press time, no charges had been filed against Hess or anyone else in conjunction with the meth lab.
The Special Investigative Unit of the Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation are handling the case.
Sifford said this is the first meth lab the department has encountered in recent months.
“The new law has reduced the number (of meth labs) being found,” said Sifford, referring to the General Assembly action in 2006 to require products with pseudoephedrine be taken off the shelves and put behind the counters in pharmacies and stores.
“Most local stores have been very cooperative,” said Sifford.
Prior to the adoption of the law making it more difficult to obtain pseudoephedrine, the Sheriffs Office racked up several major meth busts. The largest meth bust occurred October 2001, when deputies seized 27 pounds of meth with a street value of $1.3 million at a Kannapolis home.
Information on the equipment, amount of meth or other materials seized was not immediately available.

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