Domestic dispute leads police to portable meth lab

HARRINGTON — A meth lab allegedly was found in a vehicle Sunday afternoon during an initial response to a domestic dispute call, the Harrington Police Department said.

Authorities said the discovery of the methamphetamine laboratory came after they questioned Jeffrey K. Korell, 36, of the 16000 block of Jones Road in Henderson, Maryland, regarding a possible assault. Mr. Korell was then taken into custody and later charged.

The alleged incident unfolded at 3:10 p.m., when patrol officers were called to the Holiday Inn on South DuPont Highway, according to Harrington Police. A woman and child reportedly were in the parking lot yelling for help, police said, and a naked man was standing next to a vehicle.

Upon arrival at the hotel, police said, officers were told that a maroon Chevrolet had exited the premises and turned north onto South DuPont Highway.

“Police searched the area and located the vehicle in the parking lot of the Rite Aid, located on South DuPont Highway in Harrington,” Harrington Police Capt. Earl Brode said.

“Police then entered into the Rite Aid and located (a female and Mr. Korell). Police began questioning the (female) and Mr. Korell and while speaking to the (female) police observed injuries to (her) face.”

Emergency responders handle a reported portable methamphetamine laboratory on Sunday in Harrington. (Courtesy photo/Debbie Jones)

Emergency responders handle a reported portable methamphetamine laboratory on Sunday in Harrington. (Courtesy photo/Debbie Jones)

Police conducted a vehicle search of Mr. Korell’s vehicle. A cooler in the truck’s rear area was found, and multiple items and ingredients consistent with manufacturing methamphetamine were located when it was opened, authorities said.

The area was immediately secured and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control was called for assistance, police said. Also Little Creek Fire Company arrived to assist with the Kent County hazardous material trailer. All items were secured and the area was declared safe.

As the vehicle search continued, police said, two large knives were found concealed, along with a small amount of marijuana, eight Suboxone strips and drug paraphernalia.

Charges included possession of a controlled substance in a Tier 5 quantity, operate or attempt to operate a clandestine laboratory, second-degree assault, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts each of possession of a controlled substance and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

Mr. Korell was arraigned by video phone at Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and held at Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown in lieu of $19,500 secured bond.

While the discovery of a mobile meth lab is infrequent, Capt. Brode said, “We have located some before in the past. We don’t get a lot of them but we have had a few.”

Regarding mobile meth labs, Capt. Brode said, “Officers have to take extra precautions with the nature of some of the chemicals that are used.

“DNREC will respond and assist with securing the items and render the scene safe.”

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