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Matthew Anderson

Maine Man Charged With Manufacturing Meth in Church Playroom

Matthew Anderson, 33, was arrested after police discovered items consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine at the Buxton United Methodist Church

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A Maine man is facing charges for allegedly transforming a children's playroom inside a church into a meth lab.

Buxton police say 33-year-old Matthew Anderson had created a "one pot" meth lab at the Buxton United Methodist Church.

The lab was discovered on Thursday after someone in the Chicopee Road church noticed a distinct chemical odor in the building and called the police.

"It was an odd smell in the building," Buxton Police Chief Troy Cline said. "[An officer] removed the item and put it in the parking lot."

Cline said Anderson was known to Maine's Drug Enforcement Agency but it was not clear why he had access to the church or if he was a member. It was also not immediately known how long the meth lab had been in the building.

Cline did say the lab was dangerous and someone could have been seriously hurt by an explosion from the lab or the toxic chemicals used to make methamphetamine.

"This was not a harmless incident," Cline said. "If the kids open that bag of chemicals… it could have been life-threatening."

Cline also said the church will likely have to be decontaminated for safety.

Although a phone call to a number listed for Buxton United Methodist Church went unanswered, a sign posted on a church window said "due to the recent criminal activity within our building, we are unable to meet here for services of worship."

The note went on to say the church will still plan events in the area and is "committed to everyone's safety to worship and to serving our community."

It also says "our prayers are with all the families who are broken and hurting from the dreadful pain of addiction."

Notes on the Buxton Police Facebook page about the alleged lab showed some in the community were shocked and others hoped Anderson learns a lesson from his arrest.

He was unable to post $50,000 bail and remains jailed until a court appearance Jan. 24, 2020 in Alfred Superior Court.

Buxton's police chief says the town does not have a significant methamphetamine problem but Maine's Drug Enforcement Agency has said it has seen a recent surge in drug trafficking and use in the state.

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