HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico police busted a meth lab at a West End hotel on Thursday morning, according to State Police.
Police arrested Spencer Matthew Jackson, 23. He is charged with five counts of credit card fraud, one count of theft and one count of manufacturing meth. It happened at the Regency Inn Hotel on Eastridge Road between Parham and Three Chopt roads.
Police say Jackson was cooking the drug in the bathtub.
The hotel sits less than half a mile from Douglas Freeman High School and Regency Square Mall.
"It was really bad," said Barbara Withers who works nearby. "We didn't know what was going on, we thought the building was on fire at first." Withers took photos of the emergency crews at work. "The fire department was there first and then we seen the guys with the full body hazmat outfits with the head gear and everything."
Police say the reason why they were looking for Jackson in the first place is because he was using stolen credit cards to pay for his stay at the hotel. They found him in a room on the second floor.
Investigators say it was a small operation, with a big potential to be explosive and endangering everybody nearby. 'It uses a lot of volatile chemicals. That's why they have specialized teams to render the lab safe," said Lt. Chris Eley with Henrico Police.
People around here say the motel doesn't have the best reputation. "Pretty rough. They've been trying to clean it up but it does hurt the businesses around it," said Withers.
But police are seen here frequently and are always watching.
"We have to look at all of the incidents as a whole and decide whether the hotel is a nuisance in the county or not and go from there," says Lt. Eley, in regard to the possibility of charges against the business owners.
Lt. Eley says if a hotel is found to be a problem and does not change, that could lead to it being shut down or even criminal or civil charges.