Five charged in Cortland meth lab bust

CORTLAND, N.Y. — Five people have been arrested in connection with a meth lab that was discovered inside a Cortland apartment Saturday night.

At around 8 p.m., the Cortland Police Department responded to an apartment at 40 Groton Avenue regarding a report of a "strong chemical odor" coming from the apartment, according to Lt. Richard Troyer with the Cortland Police Department.

When officers arrived on scene, a person living in the apartment told officers that there was an active methamphetamine laboratory inside the building. All three apartments at the home were quickly evacuated, police said.

Responding law enforcement agencies contacted the New York State Contaminated Crime Scene Response Team to begin the cleanup process. A Cortland police officer who responded to the incident was treated at Cortland Regional Medical Center for respiratory problems. He was later released.

The following day, state police processed the crime scene and removed numerous chemicals and equipment used to make meth.

The following people were charged in connection with the incident:

Jeffrey A. Stevens, 29
Casey L. Schunk, 26
Christopher C. Gillette, 33
Precious M. Short, 24
Daniel J. Gardner, 40

Each were charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony; unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, also a felony; second-degree reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and fifth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor.

They were taken to Cortland County Jail without bail to appear in Cortland City Court on Monday.