CCSO: Condemned home turned into meth lab, again

Posted at 10:18 AM, Jan 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 14:21:25-05

Squatters have once again turned a condemned Inverness home into a meth lab, equipped with a sink full of lye, Citrus County deputies say.

Jefferery Smith, 45, is now facing numerous charges including meth manufacturing, trafficking in meth, possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Deputies say they were called out out to Moss Oak Mobile Home Park off U.S. 41 in Inverness Monday morning by concerned neighbors who feared squatters had taken over a condemned home on Lot 14 and were manufacturing meth inside.

"You could smell something in the air," said Alice Matson, a resident and mother.

"I had the worst headache of my life, I felt like a truck had run into my head," said Megan Chaky, a resident.  "I ended up in the hospital that week because of the fumes from the meth."

Deputies found the door open and in plain view they reportedly saw meth and meth manufacturing products.

When they returned with a search warrant, they found a sink full of lye, opened lithium batteries, baggies, coffee filters and syringes.  Some of the volatile chemicals were found near propane tanks.

"I didn't put myself in this situation, I have been put in this situation," Chaky explained.

"It is kind of scary to know that if something was to happen, that's my children's home, that's all we have," Matson said of a potential explosion.

Deputies left a card with residents and told them if the suspect returned to call 911.

"We are here because we can't afford someplace else but we still need to be looked out for," Chaky said.

Later that day, Smith reportedly returned and agreed to speak to deputies.

When arrested, Smith was found in possession of spice.

According to an arrest affidavit, Smith says he had gotten released from jail five months prior and was experiencing life issues and returned to using drugs.

Smith admitted to cooking meth four times but denied cooking meth at the condemned home, deputies say.

Smith is being held on $36,000 bond.

Smith was arrested in 2014 at the same home on similar charges.