Suspected meth lab discovered next to school after Lisbon arrest

LISBON – Friday’s search for a parole violator uncovered what is believed to be the village’s first known meth lab.

The suspected meth lab was found in the basement of the home located at 353 W. Pine St., a rental property occupied by Jesse L. Kessinger, 31, and his wife. The couple had just moved there sometime in February, according to Detective Shar Daub of the Lisbon Police Department.

Kessinger is from St. Albans, W.Va., but had served time in the federal prison in nearby Elkton on a weapons possession charge, according to U.S. Marshal Dan Deville. He said Kessinger violated his parole for that offense by moving from West Virginia to Lisbon.

Armed with an arrest warrant, U.S. Marshals and police went to the residence about 11 a.m. and found Kessinger hiding in the attic. It was during the room-to-room search for Kessinger that Deville said they saw a small amount of marijuana being grown in plain view, so the Columbiana County Task Force was contacted.

DTF Director Brian McLaughlin said 12 immature marijuana plants in early stages of growth were confiscated but they also discovered a small meth lab operation in the basement. There were the materials and assorted chemicals commonly used to manufacture methamphetamines and a 2-liter soda pop container of suspected meth itself.

The container was taken outside and field tested by McLaughlin, who was assisted by an agent from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), with both wearing protective suits. The Lisbon Fire Department stood by in case they were needed.

“There’s always a chance of a flash fire or an explosion” when handling meth, McLaughlin said.

Field tests determined the material in the 2-liter container was the byproduct left over after meth has been “cooked.” The container was neutralized and then placed in a sealed container to be disposed of by BCI.

McLaughlin said to his knowledge this is the first meth lab they have ever discovered in Lisbon. This particular location was next door to the high school football field and adjacent to the middle/high school, which let out just as investigators were finishing.

“It’s always good to cook meth next to a school,” he said, sarcastically, while standing on the front porch within view of students leaving school.

As for how Kessinger ended up in Lisbon, McLaughlin said it his understanding Kessinger’s wife is from the county and they began corresponding while he was serving his sentence at the federal prison. They married after his release.