Meth lab repeat: unrelated call leads to lab discovery

A meth lab was discovered at Oak Mountain Lodge when Pelham Police responded to an unrelated call. This is the second meth lab discovered at the site in less than a year. (Contributed)

A meth lab was discovered at Oak Mountain Lodge when Pelham Police responded to an unrelated call. This is the second meth lab discovered at the site in less than a year. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Pelham Police discovered a meth lab at Oak Mountain Lodge on U.S. 31 in Pelham, the second meth lab at the establishment in less than a year.

Police arrived at Oak Mountain Lodge on May 6 to apprehend Matthew David Ivey, a 29-year-old Pelham resident, on an unrelated warrant from the Tuscaloosa Police Department.

“We had gone on a call to that location and we made an arrest on a warrant,” Pelham Police Deputy Chief Larry Palmer said.

According to Palmer, the meth lab was discovered after the arrest when Ivey, a registered occupant at the Oak Mountain Lodge, went to his room to retrieve his belongings.

Officers encountered a “thick haze and what appeared to be a methamphetamine laboratory” inside the room, according to a May 7 news release from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

“Once we discovered the lab, we called our hazmat units in along with the Pelham and Alabaster Fire Departments,” Palmer said.

An active meth lab was discovered less than a year ago at Oak Mountain Lodge during a September 9, 2013 bust that sent four Pelham Police officers and one K-9 officer to the hospital after inhaling hazardous methamphetamine fumes.

“Once the chemicals were seen and identified, we backed out,” Palmer said, adding that the case has been turned over to the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Ivey is currently being held at the Shelby County Jail on a $267,000 bond while the SCDETF carries out an “investigation for other possible suspects involved,” according to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Ivey has been charged with felony counts of first degree unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor counts of second degree unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

“This is still under investigation, they are still looking into the chemicals involved,” Palmer said. “The investigation is just starting.”

According to a news release from the Pelham Police department, the SCDETF had removed the meth lab from Oak Mountain Lodge as of 5:35 a.m. on May 7.

Although the investigation is ongoing, Palmer said there is no apparent connection between the meth lab discovered in September and the one discovered May 6.