Suspect sought as Edmundston police probe 'clandestine' drug lab
Edmundston police say a male suspect is at large following an evacuation and investigation at a local rooming house.
The rooming house was evacuated Thursday evening as police responded to what they are calling a “clandestine laboratory” in Edmundston, N.B.
The Edmundston Police Force says they found products and equipment that may be related to drug production at the rooming house on Monseigneur Plourde Avenue.
Police say the investigation was prompted by a visit to the residence on Wednesday on an unrelated matter. The building owner, who police say is not considered a suspect, was carrying trash out of the home which police say contained several suspicious items.
"Products we found at the scene, some of the paraphernalia found at the scene, indicated it looked like materials used for a clan lab," said Edmundston deputy police chief André Madore.
Police were concerned the products may be harmful, or even explosive, so they ordered an evacuation of the rooming house around 8:30 p.m.
Twenty-four tenants were forced to evacuate the building, along with some neighbouring homes.
"We were caught on the spot to evacuate the premises," Wright said. "So where are we going? We don't know. Good thing Red Cross was there, 'cause we were crashing in the street."
The residents were assisted by Canadian Red Cross volunteers locally and from Woodstock with accommodations and money for food and clothing. Residents like Wright and Joey Belanger weren't permitted to lock their doors or secure belongings.
“We did an assessment on all of them and they were basically told there was a Hazmat situation occurring, and that they were evacuated and would be advised when they could return,” said Dale Paterson, a volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross in Woodstock, N.B.
The evacuees were allowed to return home Friday. No injuries were reported.
Members of the clandestine lab dismantling team responded to the scene to assist police with seizing the products. The Fredericton Police Force’s explosive technician team was also called to the scene to ensure there were no explosives among the products.
“The items found will be seized and an analysis will be done to determine their nature,” said the Edmundston Police Force in a news release.
Police say the investigation is ongoing and they do have a suspect confirmed, though no arrests have been made at this time. Police say the individual moved into the rooming house two or three days before Thursday’s evacuation.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jessica Ng.