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Portable meth lab found in backpack

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GREENFIELD — Indiana State Police were called to Greenfield early Monday to assist in dismantling a methamphetamine lab contained in a backpack, police said.

Local officers were called to the Dollar Inn, 2200 N. State St., around 1:30 a.m. after a 911 caller told dispatchers a woman in the area was screaming and crying.

While searching the area, Greenfield police Patrolman Michael Schwamberger discovered Jennifer Coomer, 38, of Knightstown, hiding in the bushes beside Speedway, which is next door to the Dollar Inn.

Schwamberger also found a backpack containing equipment to manufacture methamphetamine, police said.

Meth users now frequently use what police call the “one-pot method” to make small batches of the drug, police said Monday.

The ingredients, which can include camping fuel and liquid plumbing fluid, are not as volatile in smaller amounts and are easier to conceal because they omit less of an odor.

Officers contacted the Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Unit and sealed off the area where the backpack was lying while they waited for help to arrive.

Meanwhile, a second suspect, Earl Nicholson, 36, of Carthage, flagged officers down and told them Coomer had been fighting with another woman in Nicholson’s room at the Dollar Inn.

Police said Coomer admitted she had been smoking meth with Nicholson and a friend in Nicholson’s room and had a meth pipe with her when police arrived.

Nicholson consented to a search of the room, where officers found more items used for making meth. The other woman the pair mentioned had already left when officers arrived.

Coomer faces charges including possession of paraphernalia, a Class D felony, and visiting a common nuisance, a Class A misdemeanor.

Nicholson faces charges including manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver, both Class B felonies, and maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony.

Police said Tuesday the backpack was far enough from fuel pumps at the Speedway convenience store that an evacuation of the area was not necessary.

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