Marlborough Twp. Man Pleads Guilty to Operating Meth Lab
Robert Palm, 43, of the 800 block of Holly Drive in Marlborough Township pleaded guilty last week to felony charges of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and risking a catastrophe in connection his Feb. 3, 2010 arrest in the township.
Palm, who lived with his elderly mother in the Green Hill Trailer Park community, was arrested after police obtained information he was operating a Methamphetamine lab out of his home.
According to court documents, Palm was manufacturing drugs at his house not only in close proximity to other mobile homes, but less than 1,000 feet from Marlborough Elementary School.
Members of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force received information that Palm was manufacturing and distributing the drugs in January 2010.
A press release issued by Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman on Feb. 5, 2010 stated that “Due to law enforcement’s concern for the safety of the residents of that community, and his elderly mother who resided with Robert Palm, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) made this a high priority investigation. Detectives and Task Force Officers applied to District Judge Catherine Hummel Fried for a search warrant which was issued on Feb. 3, 2010.”
Members of the Montgomery County Detective Bureau – Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) and the Montgomery County Drug Task Force (MCDTF), which consists of officers from Marlborough and Upper Perk police departments and Pennsylvania State Police, executed the search warrant at the home.
It was reported that upon entering, police detected an “overwhelming chemical odor” consistent with the manufacturing of Methamphetamine. Robert Palm was reportedly located inside the residence. Chemicals involved in the manufacture of Methamphetamine were located inside Palm’s bedroom. Police reported pan with residue from a recently cooked batch of Methamphetamine was also found.
Detectives removed Palm from the residence and retreated to the street to minimize exposure to the dangerous chemicals from inside the trailer. Certified members of the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Laboratory Response Team and Green Lane Ambulance responded to the scene. Lab personnel entered the residence while wearing protective suits with air tanks. Evidence including dangerous chemicals and lab equipment were secured and removed.
The criminal complaint reported that evidence including red phosphorus, iodine and pseudoephedrine, precursor chemicals used to manufacture Methamphetamine, were taken from the home. Several pieces of lab equipment were also reportedly seized.
Detectives reported that when Palm was interviewed, he admitted to cooking methamphetamine in his trailer for about a year and described how he manufactured the drug and acknowledged that it was dangerous to do so. He provided a written statement to detectives. Law enforcement officials said Palm was manufacturing several grams per “cook” but could not estimate how much Meth was recovered from the home.
Judge Thomas P. Rogers sentenced Palm to 2½ to 5 years in a state correctional facility and three-years probation after he is released from prison.