PLANT CITY, Fla. - A 35-year-old Plant City man was arrested and charged early Wednesday morning on two felony counts related to a drug lab he is accused of operating inside his home at 4911 Pandora Place, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
Detective Larry McKinnon, with HCSO, says Ronnie Dale Porter, 35, was operating a lab out of his home with two children inside.
At one point, Porter told deputies it was a science project for the children. Deputies quickly realized it was no science project, but rather an illegal hobby for adults.
Deputies also say there is a chance Porter was manufacturing "Molly," a pure form of Ecstasy, with the makeshift lab.
The children have since been placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
Porter is in the Hillsborough County jail charged with two felony counts of possession of precursor chemical (methylamine).
Multiple Plant City homes were evacuated Tuesday in response to several suspicious items found at 4911 Pandora Place.
Deputies originally responded to the residence Tuesday morning to serve an eviction notice. When they arrived at the home, they found it in disarray. They also reportedly found a large python in the home. Animal Control was called and while they were removing the reptile, they saw "several suspicious items."
The bomb disposal team was dispatched around 3 p.m.
"When our bomb technicians arrived, they observed two pressure cookers and a number of chemicals in the house," said Col. Jim Previtera with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
According to the sheriff's office, inside a refrigerator in the home was an illegal chemical determined to be Methylamine Hydrochloride, a substance used to manufacture MDMA/Molly (More on the Molly drug here http://wfts.tv/18wCEIL ).
The tenant originally told detectives the chemicals were just being used for their children's science project.
"In examining the chemicals that were in there and the method that was used to manufacture this substance, it became pretty clear to us that this was no science experiment," said Previtera.
Doyle's cousin was detained by the sheriff's office. Officials say charges are expected.
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