Suspected meth lab busted
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Members of the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Lab Team look through items taken from the residence of Eric Joseph Willing, 34, of 132 E. Railroad St., Nesquehoning, during a raid on his residence Thursday.
A Nesquehoning man is in prison after police raided a suspected methamphetamine lab at his residence Thursday.
Eric Joseph Willing, 34, of 132 E. Railroad St., was jailed in lieu of $200,000 straight bail after his arraignment before District Judge Casimir T. Kosciolek of Lansford.
The raid came following an extensive investigation headed by Nesquehoning Police Chief Shawn Smith.
Smith and Charles Horvath, an agent with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office, are the arresting officers.
Smith said state police officials told him that the operation was large in comparison to others that have been raided in the region.
Police said Willing admitted to producing meth and allowing meth to be produced inside his residence since February.
Participating in the raid were members of the Nesquehoning and Lansford police departments, Pennsylvania State Police, and a State Police Clandestine Lab Team.
Also at the scene were the Nesquehoning Fire Company No. 1, Lehighton Ambulance, and the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency.
Willing was charged with operating a methamphetamine laboratory, illegal dumping of methamphetamine waste, and possession of liquefied ammonia gas; precursor chemicals with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.
The raid happened at about 11:40 a.m. Thursday at the twin home, although police officers said the preparations began hours earlier.
Smith said a check with an area merchant revealed that items that could be used for making meth were being purchased by someone.
"We tracked him through receipts," said Smith.
Smith said Willing was inside a Lansford residence where a previous meth lab bust had occurred.
Armed with the information, Smith said he checked Willing's garbage Wednesday night, and as a result of his findings, he was able to obtain a search warrant.
He contacted Horvath, who assisted him.
Mark Nalesnik, Carbon County Emergency Management Agency coordinator, and fire department personnel were called to the scene to do emergency decontamination.
"We have special equipment and a special process for decontamination," Nalesnik said.
"A person must go through the decon process because of exposure to the chemicals."
Willing did not resist arrest. He was led from his residence, and then appeared at his arraignment, dressed in a white gown and white foot coverings.
At the arraignment, he told Kosciolek he lives by himself and is employed full time at a computer firm.
Police remained at the scene most of the day on Thursday, checking items taken from the home and sorting them into black plastic bags.
Items taken from the residence during the raid, according to the affidavit, were:
• Dozens of plastic bottles containing suspected meth sludge
• Several containers of iodized salt
• Several bottles of drain opener
• Several boxes of instant cold packs
• AA lithium batteries
• Coffee filters
• Vinyl tubing
• Dozens of bottles suspected to be gas generators
A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday before Kosciolek.