BROOKSVILLE - Hernando County Sheriff's vice and narcotics detective seized 88 "one pot" meth labs and 113 hydrochloric acid generators from two trailers at Hawk's Nest RV Park on Tuesday morning.
The bust was the largest when it comes to the "one pot vessels" used to make methamphetamine, according to the sheriff's office.
Working off of a tip, detectives knocked on the door of Carey Norton's travel trailer at the 11185 Commercial Way park, and saw several of the one pot meth labs inside the home, according to the sheriff's office.
Both Norton, 41, and his 62-year-old mother were taken out of the 30-foot trailer for their safety, deputies said.
Florida Department of Children and Families put the woman in an assisted living facility because she has multiple medical conditions and relies on her son as a caregiver, deputies said.
Neighbors at the park advised detectives they believed a resident who lived three lots down, Johnny Carrington, was also cooking meth, according to the sheriff's office.
Carrington answered the door "highly intoxicated," according to the sheriff's office, and detectives also saw several of the one pot vessels.
Carrington was removed from his home, and residents in the immediate area were asked to leave for their own safety.
After search warrants were signed, detectives and a HAZMAT team recovered 73 of the vessels from Norton's trailer, as well as 106 hydrochloric acid generators, chemicals and drug paraphernalia, deputies said.
He was arrested on charges of producing methamphetamine, possessing a structure to manufacture drugs, possessing chemicals to manufacture a controlled substance and possession of drug equipment. He is being held in lieu of $25,500 bail.
Carrington's trailer had 15 one pot labs, seven hydrochloric acid generators, chemicals and drug paraphernalia. He was arrested on charges of producing methamphetamine, possessing a structure to manufacture drugs, possessing listed chemicals to manufacture a controlled substance and possession of drug equipment. He was being held in lieu of $20,500 bail.
Investigators believe the men knew each other and were making the methamphetamine for personal use.
"We cannot have this type of activity going on in our community," Sheriff Al Nienhuis said in a press release. "The dangers of abusing any controlled substance are well documented. The manufacture and use of methamphetamine, however, is in its own league. The manufacturing process is very dangerous, creates hazardous waste and produces a product that wreaks havoc on the user's body. It is for this reason that we are going to encourage, if these individuals are convicted, sentences that are decades in prison."
Nienhuis also said he has directed Public Information Officer Denise Moloney to draft a campaign to help county residents identify similar operations.
"As I have stated before, we all need to work together to make drug abuse socially unacceptable by discouraging our friends and loved ones from recreational use of any controlled drugs. Looking the other way is simply not acceptable," Nienhuis said.