CLEVELAND - Authorities removed three kids from a Cleveland home after meth lab was discovered. Those children, ages 4 and a half, 2 and a half, and 13 months, are now in the custody of another family member.
Cleveland's bomb squad was called to the 1800 block of Willowdale Avenue for a then-possible methamphetamine lab on Wednesday.
Authorities said a family of five was being evicted when bailiffs discovered the drug paraphernalia and syringes scattered about. Police said also visible were items used to make meth.
The Second District Vice Unit responded to the scene shortly before noon Wednesday and confirmed a working meth lab inside the family's home where three kids were also living.
Officers then evacuated the house and arrested a 35-year-old man and 26-year-old woman. Both have been charged with child endangering and violation of state drug law.
Upset with the parents, Maria Capeles, a neighbor, said she is glad the kids are safe.
"The parents, they don't care about the kids. They don't care about what they're doing," she told NewsChannel5.
"It's sad, it's very unfortunate ," said Cleveland Police Narcotics Unit Cpt. Brian Heffernan. He told NewsChannel5 meth labs are a growing problem in Cleveland.
In the last 18 months to two years, Heffernan said the city has seen anywhere from six to eight meth-lab busts. One of the reasons, Heffernan said, is possibly due to the success of busts in other cities.
"Law enforcement in Akron has done a very good job in enforcing and going after these people," Heffernan said. "I think initially what happened here was some people from Akron, the Akron-area moved up our way."
While it may be difficult to spot a meth lab inside a home from the outside, Heffernan said there are sometimes signs. One is paranoia. Heffernan described meth users as extremely paranoid. He said other signs include a strong chemical smell and leftover "blister packs" or the packaging the over-the-counter medication used to make meth comes in.
Neighbors said they suspected something odd, but never imagined a possible explosive lab next door.
"It made me angry cause I have children in the house and I really don't want that for my kids," Yaritza Rodriguez said.