Linn County Metro

Meth lab remnants found in Cedar Rapids Taco Bell

Two men, one an employee, taken into custody

Emergency responders are shown at the Taco Bell on Blairs Ferry Road NE on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. (Leah Schwartz/The Gaz
Emergency responders are shown at the Taco Bell on Blairs Ferry Road NE on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015. (Leah Schwartz/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A Taco Bell restaurant on busy Blairs Ferry Road was closed for much of the day Tuesday after authorities said they found components for making methamphetamine stashed inside.

Cedar Rapids police arrested two men, one of them an employee, on meth-related charges.

In a statement, the restaurant corporation said the incident was “unacceptable” but “isolated.”

“The employee has been terminated and our franchisee is considering pressing criminal charges,” the statement said.

Officers went to the fast-food restaurant, 2621 Blairs Ferry Road NE, at 4:42 a.m. to check out a suspicious person report, said Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman Greg Buelow.

The Taco Bell was closed at the time, but officers encountered two men outside, one who said he worked there.

Police then called the restaurant’s manager to the scene and went with him inside to check it out, Buelow said.

Officers found remnants of a meth lab in a utility area, he said. But it was unclear if meth had actually been cooked in the restaurant.

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Christopher Adam Matous, 31, faces charges of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of sodium hydroxide and petroleum distillates, police said. Two of the charges are felonies.

Kent Jerome Duby, 56, faces a charge of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, a felony.

The parking lot of the restaurant was taped off Tuesday morning as officers wearing hazardous materials suits examined materials outside. Several vehicles were inside the area that was taped off.

According to its website, the Taco Bell had been scheduled to open at 7 a.m. to serve breakfast. A sign posted at the restaurant predicted it would reopen Tuesday evening.

“The restaurant will reopen after it has been sanitized and inspected by the Health Department,” the company said in its statement.

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