"Thionyl method" lab was housed in a lavish lakefront home


SHEFFIELD LAKE -- A "thionyl method" methamphetamine lab -- the first of its kind in Ohio -- has been discovered in a lavish lakefront home in Sheffield Lake.

Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh with the Lorain County Sheriff's Office says the Lorain County Drug Task Force arrested Madhu Dutta, 51, this week after executing search warrants at his home, 3675 East Lake Road, Wednesday and Thursday.

Dutta is charged with possession of precursors or chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine, manufacture of methamphetamine and permitting drug abuse in real estate.

Cavanaugh said Dutta lives alone and has lived in the home, which is valued at nearly $900,000, for about a year. The lab was not in complete operation, but there were enough chemicals and equipment to warrant the charges, Cavanaugh said.

The thionyl method is unique, Cavanaugh said, because of "the type of system, the chemicals being used, the specific type of equipment, and you have to have some knowledge or ability to be able to do this."

He said the chemicals being used were commercial grade.

Not only is this the first meth lab of its type in Ohio, "There hasn't been that many reported in quite a few years across the whole country," Cavanaugh said. He added that this type of lab is "extremely toxic."

He did not know if Dutta has a scientific background or what sort of work he does but said he owns a business of some sort.

Cavanaugh said his office began receiving complaints about suspicious activity at Dutta's home in August 2013. He was unsure if Dutta was attempting to manufacture meth for personal use or to sell.

Authorities also took three handguns, 11 "long arms," which included shotguns and automatic rifles and a large quantity of ammunition from the home.

The Lorain County Drug Task Force was assisted by the Lorain police Narcotics Unit, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Sheffield Lake police and fire departments.

Dutta remained in the Lorain County Jail Friday night.

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