3 arrested after meth lab found in Mt. Pleasant home with 2 kids

Daniel Evander Johnston, left, Lauren Elaine Pender, center, and Heidi Marie Dawley. (Source: Charleston County Detention Center)
Daniel Evander Johnston, left, Lauren Elaine Pender, center, and Heidi Marie Dawley. (Source: Charleston County Detention Center)

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Wakendaw Lakes in Mt Pleasant is full of quiet streets and nice homes, but those same streets were disrupted by Hazmat teams, the fire department and police investigating a meth lab Tuesday night.

Three people were arrested after Mt. Pleasant police found a small inactive meth lab at 746 Wakendaw Road. Police say two children lived in the home and were exposed to meth when the lab was previously active.

Police received a tip around 6:15 p.m. and found evidence of a small scale meth lab. Officers put on protective equipment and were able to confirm the presence of chemicals, but determined that the lab was not active. It had however, been used previously.

Police arrested 30-year-old Daniel Evander Johnston and 31-year-old Heidi Marie Dawley and charged them with two counts of unlawfully exposing a child to methamphetamine Manufacturing and/or chemicals. Police say Dawley's two children were present during times the lab was operational.

Lauren Pender, 21, was also taken into custody and charged with possession of schedule IV controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and providing false information to police officers.

Bond was set at $100,000 for both Dawley and Johnston. Pender's bond was set at $50,000.

The children were taken to the hospital to be examined for their exposure and were then turned over to the Department of Social Services.

The Walkendaw Lakes neighborhood is still struggling to understand how a meth lab was in the house of someone who lived there for years.

"I think it surprised everybody," said resident Michele Hoisington. "Nobody would expect that in a nice quiet neighborhood."

The announcement of a possible Meth lab scared neighbors at first then that changed to worry and concern.

"The older lady who lives there is a really sweet lady but, I didn't know the granddaughter who lived there," Hoisington said.

In bond court Wednesday, Dawley said she is a stay-at-home mom.

"I take care of my grandmother and my two little girls," Dawley said.

Sandy Narcisso, who lives in the neighborhood and goes to church with the homeowner, says she doesn't understand how this could happen to an established resident.

"It was an older person in the house with children, which just breaks my heart," Narcisso said.

"It's kind of hard to believe this could happen in Wakendaw too," she said. "But I guess it can happen anywhere."

The Charleston County Sheriff's Office Metro-Narcotic Unit and Bomb Squad, along with the Mount Pleasant Fire Department Haz-Mat Team responded to the location.

Dawley has convictions for breach of trust and forgery less than $500.

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