Police find suspected meth lab in Jericho - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Police find suspected meth lab in Jericho

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Terry Bettis Terry Bettis

It was a scene that startled neighbors; a caravan of first responders invaded a Jericho neighborhood Wednesday morning.

"Never, ever in my life have I ever seen what you just saw pass by," neighbor Tate Brannan said.

State police, hazmat and the Vermont National Guard Civil Support Team headed to a home at 100 Sunnyview Drive. The concern-- a suspected meth lab in the room above the garage.

"It looks like a large response, but considering the unknown chemicals involved that is the standard rollout for that type of a call," Vt. State Police Capt. Paul White said.

The investigation started hours earlier when the homeowner called police requesting his son be removed from the home. Terry Bettis, 19, was arrested on burglary charges last month. He's supposed to abide by a court-ordered curfew and stay away from drugs. Bettis' dad told police his son broke those rules and allegedly downloaded instructions to cook methamphetamine.

Troopers say while they were investigating the family disturbance, they found ingredients to make the drug. Court papers say Bettis told police he couldn't figure out how to cook the meth so he tossed the leftovers in the garbage.

"We don't have any reason to think this is a large-scale methamphetamine lab," White said. "It sounds like it's a teenager experimenting and unfortunately experimenting with some dangerous stuff."

Only the Bettis home was evacuated. But that's little consolation to those who live nearby.

"It's a very nice neighborhood, lots of kids, families and hardworking people and the idea that there's a meth lab in the neighborhood blows my mind," Brannan said.

And a few hundred yards from the scene Brannan points out another concern: "Right through there, Jericho Elementary School. Yeah."

"Here in the state of Vermont we are fortunate that we are still pretty sheltered compared to what they see in other parts of the country, but it's definitely here. It's coming and it's on the rise," White said. "It goes beyond the dangers of drug abuse. You know you have public safety risks when you talk about people making their own methamphetamine."

Terry Bettis pleaded not guilty to violating the conditions of his previous release. A judge set bail at $1,000. His dad refused to be a court-appointed responsible adult, so at last check Bettis was still behind bars.

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