Sheriff: Contents of backpack found on Hilton Head likely for meth lab

tbarton@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 11, 2013 

The contents of a backpack that prompted a bomb squad and a hazardous-materials team to shut access to a Hilton Head Island neighborhood for several hours earlier this month likely were intended for a portable methamphetamine lab, authorities say.

However, the substances had not been used to make the illegal drug.

"It appears someone was trying to set up a lab to cook crystal meth," Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said Friday. "From our review ... everything that was in the bag would have been used and needed to cook crystal meth."

Tanner declined to specify what was found inside the backpack.

"I don't want to educate Johnny out there about what he can use to cook crystal meth," he said, adding that the contents will be destroyed.

Tanner said the Sheriff's Office collected DNA from the backpack but it still does not know to whom it belongs.

"It is still an active investigation, and we will continue to try to identify the owner," he said.

A resident called authorities at about 10:15 a.m. Jan. 3 after peeking inside the bag and discovering various chemicals and other materials. The resident said the bag had been on the ground in a common area of Old Woodlands Plantation since the previous morning, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies quickly cordoned off the area and shut down Island Drive, which intersects Mathews Drive. After sending a robot to retrieve and probe the backpack, the Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad determined the contents were safe and left the scene by early afternoon.

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  2. VIDEO: Suspicious backpack brings out bomb squad, hazard team on Hilton Head: Jan. 3, 2013

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