KALISPELL - A man is in custody after deputies say he was cooking meth inside his vehicle while parked in front of the Kalispell Kmart.
The incident began when a Flathead County Sheriff's Office checked a vehicle after seeing it running and someone sleeping inside in the at around 1:30 a.m. on Monday.
"A deputy noticed a vehicle parked right by the front entrance to Kmart which of course was closed at the time," said Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry who added that the deputy also observed what in his experience were the makings of a meth lab.
Sheriff Curry says the vehicle was what's called a "mobile-meth lab" where methamphetamine is produced inside a vehicle. He added that while the drug can be manufactured several ways, this way is one of the more dangerous.
"This is probably the bottom of the barrel -- if you will -- method. It's done in large soda plastic bottles. These labs are very dangerous and certainly can cause physical injury to anybody who messes with them." Sheriff Curry told MTN News.
He also pointed out that dismantling the lab is a very dangerous job and can cause explosions, but just how volatile the lab is depends upon what phase of the cook they're in -- or whether or not they're active.
"The mobile labs they call them pot-labs are pretty dangerous," Sheriff Curry said. "They have the potential to explode, cause fires. So clean-up is pretty well orchestrated."
A Drug Enforcement Administration cleanup crew from out-of-state was on hand Monday to help process the scene, pick up the chemicals and dispose of them safely.
Sheriff Curry says while the number of these kind of cases has dropped in recent years, it's a reminder that the drug can still be made locally. "We used to have a much larger methamphetamine laboratory problem locally, but most is imported from Mexico but can be made locally."
Sheriff Curry says the suspect could face a felony charge of criminal manufacturing of unsafe drugs.