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Pair admit running Saratoga County meth lab

Pair admit running Saratoga County meth lab

Two men arrested last month on charges of maintaining a small methamphetamine lab on a farm in the t

Two men arrested last month on charges of maintaining a small methamphetamine lab on a farm in the town of Saratoga have entered guilty pleas in Saratoga County Court.

Joseph B. McFall, 27, of Evans Street, Victory Mills, pleaded guilty Monday to third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, a Class D felony. Co-defendant Robert Russell, 32, of Middle Grove Road, Greenfield, pleaded guilty to the same charge Wednesday, District Attorney Karen A. Heggen said.

McFall will be sentenced by acting County Court Judge Matthew Sypniewski on Aug. 3, while Russell will be sentenced Aug. 5. The men were arrested in a raid conducted by the Sheriff’s Office, state police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on May 9, and have been in jail since then.

Heggen said the investigation began when the Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic dispute at a farm on Casey Road, in the countryside outside Schuylerville. At the scene, Heggen said deputies learned McFall and Russell, who worked there as farmhands, had a makeshift meth lab set up in the basement of a building there. The two would “hang out” in the basement or nap there between work shifts, Heggen said.

In the basement, authorities found empty soda bottles, tubing for chemical operations, discarded pseudoephedrine boxes and lithium strips. “Although no actual methamphetamine was found, such equipment and precursors are known to be used in the manufacture of meth,” Heggen said.

The district attorney acknowledged the men were not set up for sale and distribution of methamphetamine, but said the find was still “extremely concerning.”

“Makeshift meth labs are dangerous not only for the extremely addictive nature of the drug they seek to produce, but also because the chemicals and other items assembled to make meth can create an explosion that will literally take down the house,” Heggen said.

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