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Crime & Courts

Plant City homes evacuated, man charged after chemicals found


Published:   |   Updated: September 18, 2013 at 06:34 AM

A Plant City man is in custody after Hillsborough County deputies say he operated a chemical drug laboratory out of his home.

Early this morning, deputies arrested Ronnie Dale Porter, 35, for felony possession of methylamine, which is used to produce ecstacy or Molly — its popular street name.

As deputies walked through his home, located at 4911 Pandora Place, they stumbled on the drug laboratory, said Larry McKinnon, a sheriff’s office spokesman.

Not knowing its potential for danger and the chemicals used in the drug lab, the sheriff’s office set off a quarter-mile perimeter and evacuated five homes in the area, McKinnon said.

“Anytime you’re dealing with these types of chemicals, they have the potential of a fire or exploding,” McKinnon said.

Residents were allowed back into their homes after around 9 p.m.

Personnel from the sheriff’s office, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue hazardous materials team and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were at the scene to examine the home’s contents and identity the chemicals.

Traffic on Charleston Avenue from Turkey Creek Road was been restricted to local residents only while the sheriff’s office investigated.

Porter is being held at Hillsborough County Jail.

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