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MADAWASKA, Maine — Construction crews from Ed Pelletier and Sons demolished a town-acquired building in Madawaska on Friday that area residents called the “meth house.”
In April 2017, agents with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, working with local police, raided the 507 Main St. address in what Maine Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland referred to at the time as one of the largest busts of a methamphetamine lab in the state.
Police reported seizing a “considerable amount of materials” used to make the drug, including an unspecified quantity of methamphetamine and more than 80 containers that had allegedly been used to make the highly addictive drug.
Officers arrested the couple who lived in the home with their two young children, charging the adults with aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine, aggravated operation of a meth lab and endangering the welfare of a child.
Some time after the bust, the town acquired the property for nonpayment of taxes and local officials decided to have it and five other acquired structures torn down as part of a downtown revitalization effort.
“The revitalization and development of Madawaska is part of our vision toward economic growth and beautification of a town that we can all be proud of,” said Denise Duperre, chair of the Madawaska Select Board. “It won’t get done overnight, but we really are starting from the ground up, laying a strong foundation and working together to achieve the goal.”
Demolition on the other buildings began earlier this month after contractors first rid them of some asbestos.
“I am extremely grateful that our town leaders see the value of downtown revitalization as a big part of our Grand Plan Madawaska and [that] the demolition on an expedited basis has come to fruition,” Duperre said.
She said she hopes “this serves as the continuation of our community effort to improve blighted areas and encourage economic development in our community.”
Duperre said dilapidated buildings like the meth house are not only eyesores, but they also drive down property values.
“This property has been a nuisance to the community for several years, and I could not be happier that it will soon end and be cleared out,” she said.
This story originally appeared on the Fiddlehead Focus.