December 2, 2021

Meth lab closes Groton Avenue in Cortland

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

A drug investigation team member enters the building at 40 Groton Ave. in Cortland on Saturday. Five people were arrested after police received a report of a strong chemical odor coming from an apartment.

CORTLAND — Five people were arrested Saturday after an investigation by city police found chemicals and items used to make methamphetamine in an apartment on Groton Avenue the previous night.

City police responded around 8 p.m. Friday to 40 Groton Ave. for the report of a strong chemical odor coming from an apartment, police said.

Upon arriving, officers were met by an occupant of Apartment 2W, who told them about an active meth lab inside the apartment, according to police.

An overwhelming chemical smell came from the apartment when officers opened the door, police said. Other

occupants of the apartment were evacuated by officers.

Two other apartments at 40 Groton Ave. were evacuated by police as well.

The state police Contaminated Crime Scene Response Team secured the scene, police said.

A city police officer was reportedly treated at Cortland Regional Medical Center for respiratory problems and released.

The state police Contaminated Crime Scene Response Team processed the scene Saturday and removed chemicals and equipment used to make meth, police said.

Five arrests were made after the investigation. Those arrested are Jeffrey A. Stevens, 29, Casey L. Schunk, 26, Precious M. Short, 24, all of 40 Groton Ave. Apt. 2W; Christopher C. Gillette, 33, of 44 Rickard St., Apt B-13; Cortland and Daniel J. Gardner, 40, who is homeless.

All were charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, felonies; second-degree reckless endangerment and fifth-degree conspiracy, misdemeanors.

Gardner was also charged with disorderly conduct, a violation, after he got into a fight with another occupant of the apartment while leaving, said city police Lt. Rick Troyer.

All were sent to the Cortland County Jail with no bail set. They are scheduled to appear today in Cortland City Court.

Groton Avenue was closed for about four hours, between about 8 a.m. and noon, while worked at the scene.