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Police: Nephew Making Meth in Unsuspecting Homeowners' Basement

Homeowners who questioned smells coming from their basement called police, who found a meth lab under way.

Joshua Bell of Edgewater has been charged with possession of methamphetamine and illegally manufacturing a controlled, dangerous substance. Credit: Anne Arundel County Police
Joshua Bell of Edgewater has been charged with possession of methamphetamine and illegally manufacturing a controlled, dangerous substance. Credit: Anne Arundel County Police

Edgewater homeowners wondered just what their nephew was doing in the basement of their home.

Turns out they were right to worry. The nephew was reportedly making methamphetamine in the basement, filling the home with dangerous gases and vapors, and bringing potentially explosive chemicals into the house.

Anne Arundel Police were called to the house in the 3600 block of Seventh Avenue on Thursday evening by the homeowners. While at the house, officers smelled a chemical odor and saw items that the nephew indicated he used to make methamphetamine for his personal use.

Authorities immediately evacuated the house and notified the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, the Fire Marshal and a Hazmat Unit. Hazmat crew members determined that the air quality in the home was safe at the time.

Detectives from the Police Department’s Special Enforcement Section, who are specifically trained in gathering evidence and dismantling clandestine labs, responded to conduct an investigation and collect evidence, the department said in a release.

The residents of the home were taken to Southern station, where fire department personnel checked them for exposure to hazardous materials.

Investigators have determined that the suspect was using numerous potentially 
combustible chemicals, along with equipment and containers such as flasks, beakers, tubing and extensive glassware, to make meth. Notebooks with methamphetamine recipes were also found, along with numerous chemical equations, police said.

Authorities said they found the precursors for a more sophisticated lab capable of producing higher quantities of methamphetamine. The chemical process for making methamphetamine produces hazardous vapors and flammable gases that are capable of producing toxic atmospheres, fires or explosions.

There is no indication that the suspect was attempting to make any type of bomb and there were no booby traps located in the home. The home is being cleaned in an effort to make it safe to live in again.

Joshua Lee Bell, 22, of 3608 Seventh Ave. in Edgewater, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and illegally manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance.

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