By Jay Meisel
PORT ST. LUCIE - A man and a woman, besides facing drug charges, were charged with child abuse after investigators found a methamphetamine lab and an 11-year-old child at their residence.
Candice Marie Salerno, 31, and Eric Jon Ericksen, 40, both of 109 N.E. Surfside Ave., Port St. Lucie, were arrested Aug. 9 and charged with producing methamphetamine and child abuse.
Mr. Ericksen also was charged with violation of probation. He was on probation for driving while license suspended.
The arrests occurred after Port St. Lucie police officers and Federal Drug Enforcement Agency investigators executed a search warrant, according to an arrest affidavit.
Despite officers knocking on the door several times and announcing their presence, no one responded, the affidavit said.
Officers forced their way into the residence and found the adults in one bedroom and the 11-year-old in another, an affidavit said.
They also discovered a reaction vessel used to exchange chemicals, Coleman fuel, acid, vinyl tubing, funnels, ether, a plastic bag with fertilizer, lithium batteries and numerous cut straws and syringes throughout the residence, the affidavit said.
The adults were charged with child abuse because they are accused of committing an act that could result in injury to a juvenile, the affidavit said.
The affidavit noted officers donned special equipment and clothing because of the possibility of an explosion and contamination.
Authorities believe the couple had manufactured methamphetamine on a regular basis, the affidavit said.