Hidden drug lab unearthed in basement

A homeowner in a small hamlet about 20 km east of Rocky Mountain House found a drug lab in a hidden room in his basement on Monday.

Fully outfitted in hazardous materials resistant coveralls and self-contained breathing apparatus investigators enter a home suspected of being a clandestine drug lab in the hamlet of Alhambra east of Rocky Mountain House just after 6 p.m. on Monday.

ALHAMBRA — A homeowner in a small hamlet about 20 km east of Rocky Mountain House found a drug lab in a hidden room in his basement on Monday.

The owner, who did not want to use his name, said he made the discovery at about 10 a.m.

He’s been preparing to move the mobile home where his family of five had been living to build a home on the property.

The lab was found in the basement of an addition built onto the mobile home.

He is optimistic the site can be cleaned up so he can start building as planned in June.

But he is worried about the impact the chemicals he found could have on his wife and four children.

“My daughter lived down there,” he said pensively about the basement, with his arms crossed in front of his chest, as emergency vehicles converged on his property. He bought the home about 1.5 years ago.

According to others in the community, people who lived there about three years ago regularly attracted the attention of police.

“Yeah, it’s got a history. I just found it out,” the homeowner said.

The road leading to the hamlet off Hwy 11 was blocked off by emergency crews early in the day.

By about 3:30 p.m., the blockade was pulled back to within a few blocks around the home where crews continued working into the evening.

The homeowner said police responded quickly.

Unfortunately, it was not the only emergency on Monday that police and emergency crews had to deal with in connection to the lab.

An RCMP officer who was taken to hospital by ambulance as a precaution after contact with material in the lab was struck head-on by a minivan near Rocky Mountain House.

The officer, in his late 20s, sustained minor injuries, but the drivers of both vehicles were critically hurt.

A paramedic and an EMS student who were also in the rear of the ambulance attending to the officer were not hurt.

The ambulance driver, a 29-year-old man, was taken by air ambulance to a hospital in Calgary, while the 48-year-old male driver of the minivan was taken by air ambulance to hospital in Edmonton.

Police say while the investigation is ongoing, it’s believed alcohol was a factor in the crash.

An Alhambra resident said his quiet, little community will be catching a lot of attention after all the activity Monday.

“Everybody’s going to say where in the hell is Alhambra? We’ve never heard of it before.”

— with files from The Canadian Press.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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