Meth lab discovered next door to day care

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July 13, 2006

It's becoming a popular drug on the East Coast.

Richmond County investigators shut down another working meth lab last night at 3105 Mike Padgett Highway.

In the end two people were arrested, and a child is in protective custody...while a neighboring daycare never knew the danger.

Officers came to the home Wednesday night after reports that a 12-year-old child was home alone.

But the surprise is what they found next.

They'd walked into a working meth lab, set up in a back bedroom of the house.

"Quite often you don't realize what you've gotten yourself into," says Sgt. Allan Rollins of the Narcotics division.

The smell was so foul, one of the officers was overcome by the fumes.

"You have to realize these are hazardous chemicals," Sgt. Rollins says. "They are dangerous chemicals. It's in a form that's just vaporizing through the house."

It's not uncommon for a meth lab to explode.

And you wouldn't believe what this meth lab was operating next to: a day care.

The owner of Amandables Angels Day Care, Amanda Fouch, says she had no clue.

"Now that I am aware of it, I'm like, man, it could have put my whole business in danger," she says.

Fouch says when opening her day care each morning she often noticed a strange smell coming from the home of 39-year-old John Hixon and 36-year-old Lisa Marie Smith.

Now she suspects that smell was from meth.

"Pretty much every morning I have that smell, and I be like, 'What is that smell?'"

Holding on to what she calls her precious angels, she never knew that danger was next door.

"They've been charged with manufacturing meth, they've been charged with cruelty to children in the first degree and reckless endangerment, because the officer went into a working meth lab," says Sgt. Rollins.

Both the officer and the 12-year-old were taken to MCG for observation. They are okay.

Richmond County HAZMAT and an Atlanta waste management company were called in to remove and dispose of the hazardous materials.