GROVETON, N.H. – A high school science class that set out to study trees got a chemistry lesson instead, when it found a plastic bottle that turned out to be a "one-pot meth lab," police said.
The students from Groveton High School in New Hampshire found a soda bottle that contained a dangerous mix of chemicals used to make methamphetamine on Monday in the woods across the street from the school. No arrests have been made.
At first, the students and their teacher thought the bottle was trash, until they noticed the contents moving.
Special Agent Jon DeLena of the Drug Enforcement Administration said it was very dangerous and volatile. "It was active and it was actually swirling around and bubbling and expanding and contracting, and that's a problem," he told WMUR-TV.
School Principal Lisa Perras said they brought the bottle inside the building, but then brought it back out when they realized it might not be safe. When police arrived, the bottle was on fire.
A DEA lab safely disposed of the chemicals. No one was hurt.
Perras said the episode called for an immediate education program.
"It was a scary thought, and I think our immediate reaction after we secured their safety was that this is an area that students walk through daily, and if they found it once, there could be more," she said.
The DEA said the meth problem is growing across New Hampshire.
In Merrimack County, two people were recently indicted on charges of making a one-pot meth lab in the basement of a Concord duplex. In another case, state police said they found ingredients used to make meth at an auto dealership in Derry.
A shipment of meth last month to a post office in Laconia led to an arrest and seizure of drugs and weapons. In July, authorities seized 16 ½ pounds of methamphetamine worth $1 million in a drug bust involving a bar owner who's been accused of selling the drug.