Meth lab found cooking in Mount Carmel Hardee's parking lot

Jeff Bobo • Mar 14, 2013 at 4:42 AM

MOUNT CARMEL — A Surgoinsville man found passed out behind the wheel in the Mount Carmel Hardee's restaurant parking lot Thursday was allegedly cooking something that can't be found on the drive-through menu.

Mount Carmel police investigating an overheating car in the parking lot of the Hardees Thursday morning allegedly found a “one-pot” meth lab cooking inside the car.

Shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday Mount Carmel Police Department Officer Bobby Moffitt responded to a report of a suspicious man asleep in a Toyota Corolla that was overheating with the engine running in the parking lot of the Hardee’s restaurant on Main Street.

Moffitt said the vehicle had backed in to a parking spot, and it took him several minutes to rouse the driver who was later identified as Kenneth Andrew Case, 23, 135 Fiddlers Lane, Surgoinsville.

"You could see the steam pouring out from underneath the hood, and he was passed out," Moffitt told the Times-News. "It took me three or four minutes of beating on the window to wake him up. He woke up, rolled his window down, and I told him to cut his car off. He tried several times and couldn't do it. I finally got him to open the door because the door lock was messed up. When he got out I noticed a (syringe) in the seat beside him."

Case allegedly admitted that there was meth in the syringe.

"He had an active ‘one-pot’ meth lab — one bottle — cooking in the car," Moffitt said. "He had a hot plate and several components to make meth, plus he had one (lab) that was cooking off.

Moffitt also allegedly seized an unspecified quantity of marijuana form a compartment in the driver’s side door, as well as several additional syringes.

Case was detained, at which time the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit was notified to respond with the Meth Task Force to process evidence and for hazardous material cleanup.

Apparently the ignition was broken because the engine wouldn’t shut off. Case stated that it would have to be shut off with needle nose pliers, but about 20 minutes after police arrived they shut it off by disconnecting the battery.

Case was charged with manufacturing meth, felony possession of drug paraphernalia and simple possession of marijuana. As of Thursday evening no bond had been set and Case remained lodged in the Hawkins County Jail awaiting arraignment Monday morning.

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