Booby-trapped meth lab explodes as officers try to enter


ROANE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It was supposed to be a routine warrant round-up.

But when authorities showed up to arrest one suspect on drug charges, they got a terrifying surprise.

District Attorney Russell Johnson said the mobile home was booby-trapped.

"It had a rope or string attached to the doorknob, so when you opened the door it turned over a candle - some burning candles," he said.

The candles were positioned over a flammable substance, causing an explosion - and putting officers in danger, Johnson said.

"Obviously it was a pretty big fire, and it burned pretty quick," he said.

It wasn't long before officers discovered another mobile home in the park that was booby-trapped in the same way. They called in the Knox County bomb squad, who diffused the situation without incident.

Authorities arrested David Steven Neal for methamphetamine manufacturing charges. They said the home was being used a meth lab.

And that's not sitting well with Al Cofer, who lives across the street.

"I try to stay away from it, because I'm kinda scared of those meth labs, especially when they're burning," he said.

He's been suspicious about drug activity happening at the mobile home park for a while now.

"A bunch of us guys around here, we've got a neighborhood watch. And it's not gonna be above me hurting somebody if it comes down to this kinda stuff around here," Cofer said.

Officials also took an unidentified woman in for questioning -- they're still investigating if she's involved in the operation.

The district attorney's office is working to get warrants to search all the other mobile homes in the park - most of them appear to be vacant.


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