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Meth Lab Explodes During Raid; Couple Held

Meth Lab Explodes During Raid; Couple Held

Firefighters are seen after battling a blaze where a meth lab in a house exploded during a police raid in Franklin, N.H. , Tuesday, April 6, 2010. [AP]

Associated Press

April 08, 2010

FRANKLIN (AP) — Two people charged in connection with a raid on a meth lab were ordered held yesterday on $500,000 bonds while fire officials continued to investigate what caused an explosion at the outset of the raid.

Jeremy Clough, 31, and Rebecca Fields, 33, were charged with two felony counts each of manufacturing methamphetamine at two labs that investigators say they found in the couple’s Franklin apartment and an adjacent vacant apartment.

Prosecutor Chris Ahern argued for high bonds, saying the two are homeless because of the fire and pose a danger to the community. Ahern noted that meth is quite volatile during the manufacturing process and is highly addictive.

“They were manufacturing a highly explosive drug in a building where juveniles were present,” Ahern said.

Franklin District Court Judge Edward Gordon gave both defendants the opportunity to object to what he described as “the extremely high bond.” Both declined. Their next court appearance is April 15.

Warrants in the case remain sealed.

“There are names in there we don’t want out,” Franklin police Chief David Goldstein said after court.

Goldstein has said that information from a confidential informant prompted Tuesday’s raid by local, state and federal officials.

Fields’ three children lived with her, and she and Clough also were charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. Their trial on those charges was set for June 3.

The police chief said the children were place in custody of the state Division of Children, Youth and Families.

State fire investigator Thomas Riley said it may be days before he determines the cause of the fire that engulfed the apartment moments after the raid began. A Franklin police officer was treated for smoke inhalation.

Goldstein said he was glad they were able to put one meth lab out of business, but said he wouldn’t be surprised if another takes its place.

“It’s like a Hydra,” he said, referring to the nine-headed mythological serpent. “You cut one head off and two grow back.”