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Concord Police Investigating Meth Lab on Union Street

Items seized during warrant arrests.

The Concord Police are actively investigating whether or not there was a small meth lab being run out of an apartment building on Union Street.

Lt. Timothy O’Malley, the commander of the criminal investigations unit, confirmed that the lab was being investigated at the building after the arrest of Christopher Botta, 38, on a bench warrant on March 11.

According to O’Malley and an arrest report, in the process of arresting Botta, officers noticed materials that might be used to create the drug. After he was cuffed, officers filed for a search warrant and later, issued the search warrant and found “tools … implements to make meth,” O’Malley said.

“It’s still an open investigation,” he said. “It’s not clear if (the items) were used in that apartment but they could be used to manufacture (meth).”

O’Malley said the Concord Fire Department was sent to the apartment to check and make sure there were no fumes and there was nothing hazardous there to the other tenants. Fire officials later cleared the building.

The issue arose, according to an arrest report, when officers were called to an apartment on Union Street for a report that Botta, a man with an outstanding warrant, had been allegedly punching holes in the apartment’s walls since March 8.

The officers set up a perimeter around the building and another person inside the building was informed that an officer would be inside in a matter of minutes. The reporting officer meanwhile allegedly observed Botta exit the stairwell leading up to the second floor of the building.

Botta was reportedly standing on the sidewalk while looking both south and north until his eyes met the reporting officer. The officer stated that he told Botta that he needed to talk to him but Botta allegedly fled the area and back up the stairs.

The officer followed him up the stairs and Botta closed the apartment door behind him. Botta reportedly asked the officer through the window what he wanted and the officer informed him that there was a bench warrant for his arrest, with $226.88 from Concord District Court on Dec. 11, 2012, for nonpayment of attorney fees on a criminal mischief charge.

Botta allegedly told the officer he was going to change his clothes and be right back and later reportedly answered the door and let the officers in.

According to the report, Botta stated that he didn’t know about the warrant but told the officers that there was a woman in his apartment that he wanted removed. He allegedly complained to officers that he let a male friend crash at his place and then the next thing he knew, his girlfriend was there too, along with their belongings.

An officer reportedly saw the woman, Kristen Lee Porter, 19, of Concord, and believed that she had an active warrant as well. Dispatch was asked to check and the active warrant was confirmed and Porter was also arrested. The warrant was out of Concord District Court on Dec. 21, 2012, for a theft by unauthorized taking or transfer charge with $435 cash to settle. She was released on $750 personal recognizance bail and was arraigned on March 12.

Botta was released on $500 personal recognizance bail but barred from returning to his apartment for another 24 hours.

Investigators spoke to Botta and informed him about the search warrant application. He was asked to comment about anything officers might find in the apartment. Botta allegedly disclosed that there were several old syringes in a chest in his closet door. He also allegedly said he had been home all day and had not seen his guests doing drugs and added that he had not seen or smelled anything odd in the apartment either.

Nicholas Luoma March 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM
Is this supposed to make us feel safer? Here we have an example of how police are allowed to use any means they want to gather information. The truth is, anyone is likely to have something(s) in their home which can be used to make drugs, and all the police have to do is say they see something they think is being used to make drugs. Additionally, I think it is gross how we treat people this way. Surely Mr. Botta is not going to win the Best Civic Participant of the year, but why are we allowing the police department to shake down private citizens over $226.88? I think the time spent by the CPD could have been better used ensuring families can cross the streets safely. I am so sick of seeing cars driving by young families waiting at the cross walk, pedestrians have the right of way. Is it going to take more innocent deaths by automobiles for this city to enforce a real law that actually impacts our city's livability? Please, lets find something real to convict Mr. Botta of and put him in prison, OR leave him alone!
Nicholas Luoma March 16, 2013 at 03:43 PM
JPF36 Lets get clear please. IF there was actually a meth lab in downtown Concord, we would have known about it long before now. 'Cooking' drugs emits huge amounts toxic odor. In Concord we have a bloated police department, which is probably why Mr. Botta is in the news so much. My observations of him are that he is relatively harmless, perhaps a junkie, but I can't say those things for sure as I do not know him well even though our paths have crossed. Finally I will point out that police blotter is bureaucratic, political, and always sensational. But seriously, lets just leave Mr. Botta alone.

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