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Police uncover meth lab; DCF now involved

By Staff | Mar 24, 2012

Three children removed from a Cape Coral home that housed a meth lab remained in the state’s custody Friday as an investigation continued – not the first involving the family.

The Department of Children and Families took custody of the children Thursday after the Cape police dismantled what they say was a meth manufacturing operation at 2122 Jacaranda Parkway W. Two people were arrested and charged.

“Right now they are in the custody of DCF and our first priority is to make sure they’re safe at this time,” Terri Durdaller, a DCF spokeswoman, said of the children.

“We will look at where, potentially, they could be placed,” she said.

According to Durdaller, DCF previously investigated the family.

“We have had prior involvement with this family,” she said.

Per department policy, Durdaller could not share how many investigations had been opened, when they were conducted nor the outcome of them.

DCF did initiate a new investigation following Thursday’s drug bust.

“We do have an open investigation and we’re working with law enforcement,” Durdaller said.

She could not provide the ages or sexes of the children per policy.

“As a department, we wish drugs were not a factor,” Durdaller said. “But the reality is, in cases like this, when the caregiver is abusing drugs and neglecting their children, it is our responsibility to step in.”

“It is especially sad when we have to remove a sibling group,” she added.

Cape police began investigating the residence after receiving a tip. Detectives, forensics personnel and hazmat crews helped to dismantle the operation, along with the Lee County bomb squad and the DEA, police officials said.

Police seized more than 12 ounces of manufactured methamphetamine.

More than 6 grams constitutes trafficking, officials reported.

Michelle T. Bishop, 67, of 2122 Jacaranda Parkway W., was charged with drugs produce possess structure vehicle know drugs manufactured minor present, drugs produce methamphetamine, traffic methamphetamine or amphetamine 14 grams or over and neglect child without great harm.

Also arrested was Christopher J. Evans, 34, of 1211 S.E. 26th Terrace, according to the jail booking log. He was charged with the same counts.

As of Friday, both remained at the Lee County Jail on a $75,000 bond.

Bishop and Evans each have a court appearance scheduled April 23.

Cape Coral Code Enforcement deemed the home unlivable Thursday due to the presence of dangerous chemicals used to make methamphetamine.

The hazmat crews removed the chemicals and the threat to the neighborhood.