A tip by a concerned citizen led Operation UNITE agents to a Keavy home, where they found two active methamphetamine labs, arrested three people and removed three children from the home.

UNITE agents went to the home on Maple Grove Road about noon Tuesday, where they received permission from the homeowner, Kenneth Dewey Lewis, to search the property.

“Detectives immediately spotted an active chemical reaction taking place in a container in the kitchen,” said Paul Hays, deputy law enforcement director for Operation UNITE. “They also observed other items — filters, tubing, fuel and more — throughout the home in easy access to anyone who may have stopped by. There were even cups filled with liquids sitting around.”

Agents recovered two one-step labs, at least four containers used to create hydrogen chloride gas and several marijuana plants.

Hays said three children, ranging in ages from 10 to 16 years old, were playing in the home when agents arrived. The children were decontaminated at another home on the property before they were turned over to the Department of Families and Children.

Lewis, his wife, Sandy Garland, 40 and Tony Lee Vickers, 40, were each charged with manufacturing methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of a minor. In addition, Lewis was charged with cultivating marijuana — less than five plants and Vickers was also charged with giving a police officer a false name.

“This was not only a volatile and potentially dangerous situation for the adults, but showed complete indifference to the well-being of the children who were present,” Hays said. “You could not walk through any part of the home without being exposed to materials used in meth production.”

UNITE agents were assisted at the scene by Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies, Laurel County Department of Public Safety and Laurel County Fire Department.

Staff writer Dean Manning may be reached at dmanning@sentinel-echo.com.

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