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Police: House had makings of a drug lab

A news release from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety issued Wednesday afternoon clarified that a drug lab located on Southwest K Street did in fact contain harmful chemicals and the makings of a methamphetamine lab.

The Rogue Area Drug Enforcement team arrived at 1917 S.W. K St. around 10 a.m. Tuesday to serve a search warrant as part of an ongoing investigation.

When authorities entered the house, they found unidentified chemicals and lab equipment, including glassware that could be used to manufacture meth. The release mentioned that officers inside the house experienced headaches from the toxic chemical fumes during the brief period they were inside.

The search of the house was immediately halted, and neighboring homes were evacuated.

A hazardous materials team was called in to run tests on the air quality inside and outside of the house. The hazmat team also provided the Oregon State Police Clandestine Methamphetamine Lab team, which actually cleared the house of harmful materials, with its findings.

Once removed, the chemicals were turned over to a private company that specializes in the removal of these kinds of materials.

Three occupants of the house were removed, and two were charged with possession of methamphetamine: Jessica Nicole Cowart, 24, and Aaron Beard Parkinson, 34. The third person was interviewed by police but is not a suspect in the investigation and was released from the scene.

The investigation concluded that the house contained substantial equipment needed for a functioning meth lab, but lacked many of the precursor chemicals needed to actually manufacture the drug. Because of this, officials do not have enough evidence to pursue a manufacture of methamphetamine charge against Cowart and Parkinson, hence the simple possession charges against them, according to police.

— Reach reporter Troy Shinn at 541-474-3806 or tshinn@thedailycourier.com