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Three Lyons Falls residents face charges over meth lab

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LYONS FALLS — Three Lyons Falls residents jailed last week on other drug charges have now been accused of operating a methamphetamine lab in their apartment.

Lewis County sheriff’s deputies charged James R. Sees, 41, and his wife, Nicole L., 28, both of High Falls Apartments, 4061 Cherry St., Apt. 3, and visiting friend Jody A. Kirk Jr., who turned 28 Wednesday, no permanent address, with third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, a class A-2 felony, and second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Mr. and Mrs. Sees were additionally charged with unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material after authorities allegedly found meth-making equipment and materials in a dumpster along with mail addressed to the couple.

“Meth is common,” said Dale W. Roberts, senior investigator at the Sheriff’s Department. “It’s everywhere. It’s becoming more and more prevalent in the area, and we will actively seek out the people operating those labs.”

The trio was arraigned Wednesday before Lowville Village Judge Patricia H. Yarina and sent back to Lewis County jail, Lowville, without bail to await possible grand jury action, although Mrs. Sees had been previously arraigned on the unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine charge last week.

All three were accused of operating a meth lab on Sept. 3, when they were arrested on other drug charges.

Deputies on that day went to the apartment to locate Ms. Sees, who allegedly sold marijuana on two separate occasions in May to a confidential informant, and said they found materials used to make methamphetamines in plain view.

Mrs. Sees was immediately jailed on a charge of fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana, while Mr. Sees and Mr. Kirk were each jailed on seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance charges for allegedly possessing methamphetamine and heroin, respectively.

The three were arraigned in Leyden or West Turin town courts and sent to jail, with bail set then at $2,000 cash or $4,000 bond for each of them.

Sheriff’s Department officials said they secured a search warrant on the night of the initial arrest from Lewis County Judge Daniel R. King, and the state police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team — wearing protective suits — spent the morning and early afternoon on Sept. 4 going through the apartment, finding nearly 5 ounces of meth and other materials used in its manufacture.

State police had a chemist on scene to test and weigh the finished product, Mr. Roberts said.

Residents of the other 11 apartments were evacuated as a precaution during the investigation but were able to return to their homes during the afternoon of Sept. 4, he said.

“It went smoothly,” Mr. Roberts said, noting residents and officials from Snow Belt Housing Co. Inc., Lowville, which operates the apartment complex, were very cooperative.

While American Red Cross of Northern New York was contacted, all residents were able to be taken care of by relatives or friends, he said.

Officials took various precautions due to the threat of explosion or fire that a meth operation poses, Mr. Roberts said. “Those things are volatile,” he said.

Lyons Falls firefighters and ambulance squad members were on scene throughout the investigation.

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