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Man, woman accused of making meth in Dickinson motel

Emergency responders carry a cooler that police say was used as a methamphetamine lab from a room at the Relax Inn in Dickinson, N.D, on Thursday, June 19, 2014. (April Baumgarten/Dickinson Press)

DICKINSON, N.D. -- A man and a woman were arrested Thursday after allegedly making methamphetamine in a Dickinson hotel room where they had been staying.

Dickinson police were alerted after owners and the manager of the Relax Inn confronted the two people, whose names were not immediately released, about reports of suspicious activity in the room.

“Upon arrival, we were able to make the determination that these two suspects we have in custody were in possession of the lab and had direct access to it,” said police Sgt. Mike Hanel. “It was an active lab, as best we can tell.”

No one was injured in the arrest, Hanel said, and the meth was safely contained by a hazardous material team. He said the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is in charge of the investigation and was “basically condemning” the building in the motel’s complex where the meth was discovered.

Lori and Roger Jackson of Dickinson are partners in the motel with another person from Fargo. Lori Jackson said they had been told by “a source” that there was an active meth lab in a large rectangular cooler inside the room where the two people were staying. She said Roger Jackson confronted the guests and went to the room, where he found suspicious materials in one of the coolers.

“Once we realized it was an active lab, I got scared and I thought about the people and the possibilities of an explosion or something,” Lori Jackson said.

After calling police, she said she blocked the two guests from leaving by parking her car behind theirs.

When police arrived, they were able to confront the man, who Lori Jackson said was carrying the cooler. The man then tried to give the cooler to a police officer and said, “This isn’t mine, take it,” she said. The officer shortly after got the man to put the cooler down and handcuffed him, she added.

It was a dangerous situation and everyone was fortunate to walk away unharmed, Hanel said.

“A couple customers were displaced, but the big thing is nobody was injured because of it,” Hanel said.

Relax Inn guests displaced by the incident were being moved to the Rodeway Inn a block away, Lori Jackson said. The Jacksons and their partner also own the Rodeway Inn and Travel Inn.

Hanel said meth labs of this sort are “far and few between” because of laws that limit access to pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter drug used to make meth.

“These things are messy,” Hanel said. “They can potentially be expensive to clean up. It’s very unfortunate that this type of activity is occurring. But when it does, we have the agents here with the training that know how to clean it up right and give the direction to the property owners as far as the correct way to clean up their property.”