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April 2, 2013

Drugs, gear seized in Essex raid

ESSEX — Local, state and federal authorities raided and confiscated both an alleged controlled substance and manufacturing equipment from a suspected drug lab Saturday at a Water Street residence.

Police said that they first received a phone call about a possible “methamphetamine lab” in a house on 26 Water St. Saturday just before 10 a.m.

Essex Police Chief Peter Silva said Monday he could not say if any aspect of the property was in fact being used as a meth lab, but “substantial” amounts of a controlled substance as well as drug manufacturing equipment were removed from the house.

“Some of the things found in the house were tools of manufacturing that would be consistent with a meth lab,” Silva said.

He added no charges have been filed against anyone so far, but he did not rule out the possibility there may be charges further down the line.

“A lot of evidence was collected,” he said.

Silva said evidence was taken from the house itself, as well as from other parts of the property.

According to a discharge of mortgage document from the Salem Registry of Deeds, the house was mortgaged to a Kenneth A. Britner and David F. Killam. Britner has also lived in Rowley, neither Killam or Britner could be reached for comment on the story.

Local police, firefighters, state police, as well as federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms all responded to the scene as the road in the residential neighborhood was closed.

A regional hazardous material team was also dispatched to the scene, as chemicals used in drug manufacturing can be volatile and possibly explosive, Silva said Monday.

Silva said neighboring residents were immediately made aware of the situation and the possibility of harmful chemicals on the Water Street property, but no houses were evacuated and there was no “major risk” to neighboring properties.

The initial response and investigation lasted several hours, the area was finally cleared around 2 p.m.

Silva said the investigation of the “substantial operation” at the residence remains ongoing.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.

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