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Meth lab a unique occurrence, says Freedom Home Director

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CANTON — The methamphetamine lab found this week in North Country Freedom Homes’ Canton House, 25 Dies St., was the first such incident in the organization’s 24-year history and was shut down almost as soon as it started, said Director of Services Greg A. Aldrich.

Home residents Mark R. Amo, 28, Hunter J. Casey, 30, and Andrew M. Larche, 25, were charged with the unlawful manufacture and criminal possession of methamphetamine by Canton village police on Tuesday.

Members of the St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force found material needed to make meth and other drug paraphernalia inside the house and in the woods behind the property.

The three men were discovered by Freedom Homes staff, who noticed their lights were on after curfew, Mr. Aldrich said. A staff member discovered residents using drugs and called the police, he said.

Although it is not uncommon for addicts to relapse, this was the first time residents had been caught making drugs inside the home, Mr. Aldrich said.

“There was no odor. There was no residue,” he said. “I don’t believe it had happened for very long. They started, we caught them.”

No one who uses drugs while living in the house is allowed to return, Mr. Aldrich said.

Canton Police Chief Victor N. Rycroft agreed with the assessment that the lab had not been running for long, based on the small amount of material and drugs that were seized.

He also said there were not enough tools or materials to produce anything on a large scale. “My belief is that it was personal-use only,” Chief Rycroft said.

The three men were taken to St. Lawrence County jail. Mr. Amo’s bail was set at $15,000, Mr. Casey’s at $10,000 and Mr. Larche’s at $5,000. All three are scheduled to appear in Canton Village Court, and additional charges may be pending as the investigation continues.

Staff Writer Martha Ellen contributed to this report.

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