Barberton meth lab found next to child's bedroom

Published: Feb. 28, 2016 at 8:06 PM EST|Updated: Jun. 21, 2016 at 2:39 PM EDT
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Neighbors say children lived in the home with Harris. (Source: WOIO)
Neighbors say children lived in the home with Harris. (Source: WOIO)

BARBERTON, OH (WOIO) - A Barberton man was busted after police found him operating a meth lab next to a child's bedroom.

Neighboring kids may be young, but they're still old enough to understand that police are fighting an ongoing battle with meth in Summit County.

Barberton Police say they started watching the house in the 140 block of 2nd Street SW on Saturday afternoon after noticing suspicious activity. Later that night, they searched the home, with the permission of the residents, and found meth materials in the garage, along with a lab inside a room next to a child's bedroom.

"They found methamphetamines, as well as pseudoephedrine," said Marty Ebehart, Barberton Police public information officer.

Neighbors say they've seen two young girls they believe live inside the house, which they describe as having a strong odor.

"The house has a funky odor. It smelled like burning chlorine. The girls weren't very clean. They had holes in their shirts sometimes," said one neighbor.

The neighbors also said they would often see small fires burning outside the house.

"The fires didn't smell like a regular bonfire. It smelled like a gas fire," explained another neighbor.

Thomas Harris, 43, was charged with illegal manufacture of drugs, a first-degree felony because of children living in the home.

"Obviously, having a meth lab where you have your kids is a big deal. That's why it's a very severe charge. It's the highest degree felony in the state of Ohio," said Ebehart.

Ohio ranks fourth in the number of meth labs. Police busted more than 900 in 2014. But there were more than 1,100 meth labs uncovered in 2013, which is slightly more than the two previous years combined. The numbers for 2015 come out later this month.

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