BATH — State drug agents and Bath police arrested a man and woman Friday after finding an alleged methamphetamine lab on Elm Street, just a few hundred feet from the police station.

James Scheider 38, and Stacey Dykes, 36, both of Chiefland, Florida, were charged with aggravated trafficking because of the lab’s proximity to Morse High School at 826 High St. They were being held at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset on $5,000 bail apiece. Dykes is from Bath but has been living in Florida, Bath police said.

Bath police were alerted to the possibility of a lab when they saw movement and lights in the building, said Scott Pelletier, Division I commander of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. The building is under foreclosure and located just a few hundred feet from the police station at 250 Water St.

“As soon as they saw some activity going on there, they did a preliminary investigation, and they did see a few things that are indicative of manufacturing of methamphetamine,” Pelletier said. “So they contacted the midcoast office of the MDEA, who sent an agent that was more familiar, and they started to see the telltale signs. Based on that, the agents drafted a search warrant.”

Acting on the warrant Friday morning, an officer apprehended the pair in apartment 3 at 50 Elm St. After entering, officers saw two active “one pot” laboratories.

Because of the hazardous nature of the chemicals, officers evacuated everyone in the building, which included two adults and two children in an adjacent apartment, police said.

Another adult and five children also live in the building, but were gone at the time and were not allowed back in until the site was secure, police said.

Pelletier said the time between police noticing the movement and the MDEA getting a warrant and investigating was extremely short. The two suspects – who traveled to Bath from Florida – were only in the building since earlier this week, he said.

“This is all on Bath PD, their officers noticing something,” Pelletier said. “These guys know their areas, who lives where, what’s out of the ordinary. … It’s just good police work on their part.”

Maine is seeing a rise in arrests related to making and selling methamphetamine.

The discovery of the operation Friday marks the 25th lab found by the MDEA in Maine so far this year, up from 20 discovered in 2013.

“We’re way ahead,” Pelletier said. “I think one of the main reasons is law enforcement, first responders, and even the public are much more educated in what they see, where in years past we don’t see it as much.”

In early October, Maine was awarded a $905,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant to pay for four drug agents and additional equipment to help fight the manufacture and use of methamphetamine.

According to Pelletier, the cooperation and help of Bath police, the Bath Fire Department and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection was essential in the safe handling of the lab.

“We can’t do these labs without DEP and the fire department,” he said.

The lab was the second found in Bath since May 2013, when one was found on Dummer Street.

Brent Wright, who lives across from the site, was waiting just outside the police perimeter Friday morning after being evacuated from his house at 49 Elm St.

“When I came out, I heard that they were evacuating the place,” Wright said. “It’s a nightmare on Elm Street on Halloween, how about that.”

Chris Chase can be contacted at:

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