On Thursday, July 6, 2023, troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) in Nassau County conducted a routine traffic stop on a vehicle suspected of having illegal window tint — instead, they uncovered a mobile meth lab.
According to a press release, FHP stopped the vehicle containing a female driver and male passenger on I-95 near the welcome center; the 42 and 41-year-old occupants stated they were on their way to Apopka, Florida from Charleston, South Carolina.
While investigating the vehicle's window tint, the trooper noted that both individuals appeared to display numerous visual and behavioral indicators of illegal narcotics use.
Upon requesting consent to search the vehicle, the trooper located both liquid and crystal methamphetamine, as well as the materials needed to synthesize both. After securing the scene, hazmat was called in.
According to the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the chemicals used to make methamphetamine are not only hazardous and flammable, they pose a variety of health risks to anyone who inhales or ingests them, including irritation or corrosion of the skin and eyes. Methamphetamine can also cause severe burns if they come in contact with the skin.
Nassau County Fire Rescue, Nassau County Sheriff's Office, and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also responded to the scene. The nearby Florida Welcome Center was evacuated, the center closed, and first responders assisted on-site employees and visitors to safety.
Both occupants of the suspect vehicle were transported to the Nassau County Jail and will be charged with trafficking, possession, and manufacturing/production of methamphetamine, the release states. They will also face charges of introducing felony contraband into the State of Florida, as well as a citation for the illegal window tint.
To read the press release in full, click here.
Article by Rachael Volpe