This story was updated at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to reflect charges filed in the incident.
Five men from out-of-state have been charged after police found a methamphetamine lab in the room where they had been staying at the in Elkridge, reported the Howard County Police Department (HCPD).
At 10:40 p.m. on Monday, June 4, police knocked on the door to the men's hotel room after an anonymous caller reported suspicious activity.
"The officers observed chemicals inside the room and placed the men into custody," said Sherry Llewellyn, spokeswoman for HCPD. "A fourth man arrived and was also arrested. A fifth man who had been staying in the room was found wandering around the parking lot and was also arrested."
In addition, police found heroin and a handgun after executing a search warrant inside the hotel room, Llewellyn told Elkridge Patch.
On Tuesday, June 5, police charged the following individuals with drug manufacturing, drug possession and possession with intent to distribute:
- Josiah David Martin, 23, of Swansboro, NC
- Forrest Derrick Rhoades, 34, of Sallisaw, OK
- Joshua Wade Matthews, 33, of Sallisaw, OK
- Amos Joel Martin, 20, of Mesick, MI
- Spencer Allen Smith, 22, of Lock Haven, PA
Parts of the hotel were evacuated Monday night and Tuesday morning as the fire department cleared the scene.
Because chemicals were found, police said it was declared a hazmat situation.
"Last night the levels were alarming which lead our personnel to deem this a hazardous incident," said Jackie Cutler, spokeswoman for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.
Guests were allowed to re-enter their rooms on the fourth floor at 4:30 a.m.
"Detectives believe the methamphetamine was intended for use among the five men," said Llewellyn. "Investigators say the suspects, who were traveling through the area for work, were manufacturing the drugs because they were unable to find methamphetamine locally."
"Meth labs are very uncommon in Howard County," said Llewellyn. "There have been "no other cases in the last two years, or in anyone’s recent memory."
Original article reported at 2:05 a.m.
A suspected methamphetamine lab in the Elkridge resulted in a partial evacuation of the hotel Monday evening and the arrest of four men, according to the Howard County Police Department (HCPD).
Officers responded at 10:20 p.m. on June 4 to an anonymous tip that there was a meth lab in a room at the Holiday Inn Express, according to a prepared statement from HCPD.
"Officers responded and detected a strong, unusual odor near the door of a room on the fourth floor. Officers knocked and were let in by three male suspects," said Sherry Llewellyn, spokesperson for HCPD. "Officers observed chemicals inside the room and placed the men into custody. A fourth man arrived and was also arrested. Police are working to confirm their identities."
Hotel guests on the fourth floor and above and below the room where the suspected methamphetamine lab was located were evacuated to the lobby, said police.
Several hotel patrons who had been at nearby Lyndwood Center when police and fire units arrived were unable to get back into the Holiday Inn due to the investigation.
"The fire department is currently standing by with fire suppression units and a hazmat team," Adam Nolan, spokesman for Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, told Elkridge Patch at approximately 12 a.m.
Firefighters streamed in and out of the Holiday Inn Express wearing masks.
As of 1 a.m., the special operations team was still on scene, in addition to the Emergency Services Command Unit and police.
"The Howard County Police vice and narcotics detectives responded to the scene and are expected to execute a search and seizure warrant," said Llewellyn. "The DEA, which has meth lab specialists, has also been contacted."