River cleanup volunteer unhurt after meth backpack explodes

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A volunteer helping with cleanup on a North Carolina river was unhurt after a backpack he retrieved exploded, revealing what police described as a portable methamphetamine lab.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports Charlie Chang said his feet were on the backpack he plucked from the French Broad River and placed in his kayak Saturday. He said he thought it was full of water, rocks or something else. Then, the backpack exploded.

Asheville police say Chang actually had retrieved a “shake and bake” portable meth lab for producing the highly addictive, illegal stimulant. Chang says the backpack was stuffed with plastic soda bottles, several with tubes in them and some with a material like pink sand.

Trained members of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation safely disposed of the materials.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com

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