A raid on a Fulton neighborhood house on Friday led to the discovery of a functioning meth lab tucked into the basement, according to the Minneapolis Police Department.
The find, long suspected by neighbors on Abbott Avenue who reported seeing late-night visitors to the house with the junk-filled back yard, was confirmed by hazardous materials specialists from the Police Department and Fire Department.
“It’s not what we’re used to around here,” said a woman who lives on the same block. She asked not to be named for fear of the home’s owner.
The southwest Minneapolis neighborhood is known mostly for its epidemic of teardowns, and several brand-new homes can be seen up and down the block from the meth house’s front lawn.
The neighborhood’s median income of roughly $100,000 is twice that of the city as a whole.
Authorities were led to the house at 5137 Abbott Av. S. while searching for Jeremy Daniel Gonser, a 37-year-old Coon Rapids man wanted on warrants for drug possession and theft.
He was spotted outside the house at 11 a.m. Friday, and when he went back inside, officers followed.
The house smelled like chemicals, and officers’ eyes began to itch and burn, the police said. Five people, including Gonser, were taken out of the house and handcuffed on the front lawn.
A woman found inside the house, Starlet Mae Johnson, 27, of 4412 4th Av. S., was arrested on warrants for receiving stolen property, violating a domestic order for protection and a felony warrant out of Anoka County.
She’s been arrested five times in Minneapolis in the past year, police said.
Nobody found inside the house listed it as their address, police said.
The house does not pose a public safety threat, according to police.
Gonser has at least one prior drug conviction from 2011. He was charged with fifth-degree drug possession last year.
Methamphetamine ranks as one of the most commonly seized illegal drugs in the seven-county metro area, according to research by drug abuse expert Carol Falkowski.
Some 22 percent of drug seizures included meth in 2012, and that climbed to 32 percent for the first half of 2013.
Marijuana and cocaine were listed in about 18 percent of seizures in 2012 in the metro area, Falkowski reported.