ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Marion County Communications received a call the morning of April 11 reporting a fire in a camper trailer located near a railroad right of way at West Third Street in Durham.
Sgt. Jeff Soyez of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department arrived at the scene and determined the camper was being used as a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory.
Also responding to the fire were the Durham Fire Department, Deputy Aaron Waddell and Undersheriff Randal Brazil.
Loretta Schmidt, 35, of Marion was in the vicinity and arrested for alleged possession of methamphetamine, felony possession of drug paraphernalia and contraband in a penal facility.
Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker reported that it was one of the larger labs recently found in the county.
Methamphetamine is a form of amphetamine legally available by prescription for weight loss.
The methamphetamine more widely used today is illegally manufactured in different forms under various names, including “speed,” “crank” and “meth,” according to information provided by the sheriff’s department.
Statistics provided by the sheriff’s office demonstrated the high incidence of recent methamphetamine-lab activity in the county.
Beginning in September 2000, the sheriff’s office investigated four sites containing dumped components of methamphetamine labs, and three locations-including the recent site in Durham-of labs manufacturing methamphetamine.
A hazardous material’s team from Wichita arrived on the scene of the Durham fire to clean up the area in and around the camper.