Meth lab found near Lenoir City school

By News Sentinel staff
LENOIR CITY - Charges are pending against a 23-year-old man who allegedly had been cooking methamphetamine on property next to an elementary school, according to authorities.

Jonathan McGhee was being held Friday in jail on a charge of violating probation, Lenoir City Police Chief Don White said.

"We'll probably go to the grand jury on the drug charges," the chief said. "He's not going anywhere for now."

White said police were alerted Thursday night through "an anonymous tip that someone was trying to purchase pseudoephedrine" at the CVS pharmacy on U.S. Highway 321.

Officers approached McGhee in his car in the parking lot of the pharmacy about 9:30 p.m. and questioned him.

"He did admit he had a meth lab at his residence and granted us a consent to search the home," White said.

Officers found at McGhee's home items and ingredients associated with manufacturing meth, the chief said.

"It was not an active cooking lab," he said. "They weren't cooking in the house. Everything was found outside. That property does adjoin the Lenoir City Elementary School property."

White said his officers alerted the Loudon County Sheriff's Office and the Southeast Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force of the discovery.

The chief said it took emergency workers about six hours to clean the area outside the single-story home.