, Newburyport, MA

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January 9, 2014

Port drug lab probe ongoing


The house is a small, one-story ranch-style home in a suburban neighborhood of the city. According to the city’s online assessor’s database, the house is owned by Christopher M. Kelleher Trust and was built in 1956. Howard said the house is known to have had many tenants over the years. The building inspector was investigating an illegal apartment within the house.

Neighbors declined to talk to The Daily News about the house and its inhabitants.

Howard said his department sent out a Code Red phone blast to area residents to let them know the house was cleared and the neighborhood safe.

The drug lab came to light Tuesday, shortly after the victim was found sprawled on the ground near the house. Howard said EMTs and police conducting a well-being check of the house following the medical aid call discovered a gray haze inside the kitchen. A search of the house found chemicals and laboratory equipment, leading local police to call in state police, state Hazmat units, a Drug Enforcement Agency rapid response team, North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council units and others.

On Tuesday, Christopher Street was closed to traffic for much of the afternoon and well into the evening as a phalanx of Hazmat trucks and a state police bomb squad truck clogged the narrow road. Residents stayed in their homes for the most part. Mayor Donna Holaday and Howard also spoke to a television news reporter shortly before 6 p.m.

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