SHOALS — A check on the welfare of six children in Shoals led police to a drug lab and one arrest on Thursday.
Indiana State Police report Trooper Joe Sexton was assisting the Indiana Department of Child Services on a welfare check of living conditions for the children at 818 Lynwood Drive in Shoals. While checking the house Sexton reportedly found a DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) lab. DMT is an hallucinogen that occurs naturally in some plants in South America and can be synthesized in a lab. It is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
Police arrested homeowner Christopher Couchman, 34, of Shoals under arrest on charges of manufacturing a Schedule 1 controlled substance, possession of hash oil, and possession of paraphernalia.
No children were in the home at the time of the raid. Authorities say they were all in school at the time and have since been relocated by the Department of Child Services.
“This was a new one on me,” said Martin County Prosecutor Mike Steiner. “I had never heard of this drug. It is my understanding it is not very common. I was told this is the first time it has turned up south of Indianapolis.”
The Indiana State Police Meth Suppression section believes this is the first seizure of a DMT lab in southern Indiana. Authorities say its usage is somewhat rare, but it is not new.
“I was talking to a veteran prosecutor from central Indiana about it, and he called it an oldie that he had not seen in awhile.”
DMT does occur naturally in some South American plants and has reportedly been used by shamans in some religious and healing ceremonies. The drug has been linked to very strong hallucinations.
Authorities say two other adults were at the home at the time, but were not arrested. “The investigation is ongoing,” said Steiner. “We are reviewing more information at this time before we decide to make any more arrests.”