By SCOTT PESZNECKER
A large methamphetamine lab was discovered in a motor home in West Point on Tuesday afternoon by Calaveras County Sheriff's Department deputies investigating another matter nearby.
The motor home lab, on the edge of a 6-acre property on the 300 block of Old Country Road, was capable of producing batches of up to 20 pounds of the drug at a time.
Deputies "became aware" of the lab about 12:30 p.m. and called for help, county Undersheriff Randy Grasmuck said. An hour later, the county's Narcotics Enforcement Unit and Hazardous Materials Team was scouring the area. Grasmuck would not say what brought deputies to the area or who the suspect is.
No arrests were made, but Grasmuck said deputies are looking for a man not the property owner suspected of running the lab.
No methamphetamine was found at the scene, Grasmuck said, but the narcotics unit seized glassware ranging from 100-milliliter to 22-liter "reaction vessels."
"It's not the biggest we've ever had, but investigators who were there said it was a very large lab capable of producing a significant amount of finished product," Grasmuck said.
County narcotics and hazardous materials personnel worked through the night to clean the meth lab. Workers went home about 8 a.m. yesterday.
The motor home, about 20 feet long, was about 50 yards from a lone house on the property. Two vehicles were parked in front of the motor home, but didn't appear to have been used recently, a narcotics officer said. Other than that, the officer said, the property was well kept and the lab was well hidden.
A sheriff's department press release said the investigation is ongoing and "arrests are expected."
"For right now, we're just looking for one suspect," Grasmuck said.