A fight in Swanton led police to an alleged meth lab. The men involved were working on the Vermont Natural Gas Pipeline. Court papers claim that drugs may have been on site and that pipeline workers were allegedly high on the job.
What began as an argument between two roommates led police to a meth lab in Swanton.
"Disagreement broke out between Mr. Davis and Mr. Hollis, and Mr. Davis assaulted Mr. Hollis. Mr. Hollis brought that to the attention of the police, and that led to them both being arrested," Franklin County State's Attorney Jim Hughes said.
Dustin Hollis, 25, and Charles Davis, 45, were already being monitored by Vermont State Police since November for allegedly buying lithium batteries, household lye, drain opener and other common ingredients to make meth. But it was a fight between the two men and Hollis' call to police that eventually led investigators to his home.
"That led to an interrogation, and then led to a search warrant of the home and the vehicles, where some other materials that are used in the cooking of methamphetamine was located," said Hughes.
The out-of-state men were living in a rented home in Swanton while in Vermont for work. Court papers show that the men were making meth out of the basement. Hughes says the operation was small.
"It's not typically a big money maker; it's to supply habits. So it looks like these guys were cooking and using. And potentially supplying other people that were working on the job site," said Hughes.
At the time of their arrests, both Davis and Hollis were working for C&G Pipeline, a company contracted by Vermont Gas to build the natural gas pipeline through Franklin County. Vermont Gas says both men were working on the pipeline, one as a welder and the other as an welding assistant.
The two men may not have been the only ones on the crew allegedly using drugs. According to court papers Davis' girlfriend and co-worker, Adonia Grant, claims that most of the people working the pipeline were using meth.
Grant also claims that Hollis was fired from the job but was rehired after he agreed with the C&G foreman that he would make him more meth.
"We're obviously disappointed that this would happen. The project is too important," said Marc Teixeira, the vice president of operations for Vermont Gas.
Vermont Gas officials say the company is now calling in a third party to investigate the allegations about drugs use, and make sure the natural gas pipeline stretching five miles from St. Albans to Georgia has not been compromised.
"We already have protocols in place when we build the pipeline that look over what the welders do. Everything from the visual inspection of the weld, then we have a third party not associated with the contractor come and examine the weld," said Teixeira.
In a statement received by WCAX News, C&G Pipeline says the company is conducting an internal investigation to make sure all safety protocols were followed. The company also says that any claims that workers were on meth is just not true.