UPDATE: Cynthia Baumgardner, 44, suspected of running a meth lab out of a mobile home, is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are used, stored or sold, possession of schedule III narcotics, possession of schedule VI drugs.
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Police busted an alleged meth lab in a Sullivan County mobile home park Thursday where neighbors said they sometimes wouldn’t let their children outside due to an overwhelming scent of chemicals in the air.
About 1:30 p.m., Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office deputies descended on the suspect’s home in Roller Hill Park, 327 Deck Valley Road, near Bristol. The double-wide mobile home, Lot No. 13 in Section B, sits on a hill above other residences.
SCSO Capt. Keith Elton said officers went to the home to serve an arrest warrant against Cynthia Baumgardner, 44, for failure to appear in court on a charge of driving on a revoked license.
While there, one of the officers saw what appeared to be a methamphetamine lab in the kitchen area of the mobile home.
Baumgardner was arrested on the failure to appear charge and taken to the Sullivan County Jail.
Elton said the investigation is continuing, and additional charges are expected.
Neighbors watched as events unfolded Thursday and agreed to interviews, but said they did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals.
“I’ve said I’d like to set up a toll booth and charge people to get up the driveway,” said one neighbor of the traffic to and from the home at all hours of the day and night. “We’ve watched five or six cars go up in 10 or 15 minutes.”
“It’s about time they stopped this,” said another neighbor who sat on a lawn chair, filming authorities filing up and down the driveway. “It’s gone on too long.”
Neighbors relayed alleged incidents when the suspect’s visitors wrecked their cars trying to descend the steep driveway, or drove through their lawns.
One neighbor reported alerting the park’s landlord of suspicious activity on several occasions, but did not call police.
“About once a week she would go up (to the home) with a truck full of barrels...” said one man.
“She said the barrels helped weigh (the truck down) and get up the drive,” added another neighbor, with a roll of the eyes.
“She asked me to take her to the pharmacy and I said, ‘Hell no.’”
Sullivan County Animal Control also responded to the scene. According to residents of the park, the woman owned “six or seven” dogs.
About four hours into deconstruction and cleanup of the site, a man and woman arrived. They asked EMS personnel if they could take the suspect’s dogs but were told to contact the animal shelter.
Several agencies responded to investigate, secure and then clean up the location. Responders included SCSO vice and narcotics officers, Kingsport Police Department HazMat, Sullivan County EMS, Sullivan County Volunteer Fire Department and the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force.
Sullivan County fire and rescue personnel said the home and law enforcement who entered it, as well as the suspect, would have to be decontaminated before leaving the scene.