Meth discovered at Ogden LDS Temple construction site

Jul 20 2013 - 10:23pm

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OGDEN -- A small amount of methamphetamine found on the grounds of the Ogden LDS Temple drew a swift response from the company remodeling the structure.

Carl Turner, the Big-D Construction superintendent of the temple site, contacted Ogden police at 8:07 a.m. July 12 to report the drug found in a portable toilet on the site.

"All of our projects are sensitive," said Forrest McNabb, Big-D senior vice president of operations. "We have an obligation on all of them to keep people safe. And obviously the LDS Temple project is extremely sensitive."

After the meth was removed by police, Big-D then conducted drug tests of all of its employees on the site, plus all subcontractors and suppliers tied to the job, McNabb said. "Approximately 300 people were tested."

He declined comment on any firings, or sanctions, resulting from the test results.

"I prefer not to say if there were any terminations. That information will remain confidential," McNabb said, adding test results are still pending in some cases.

Police used a disposable kit on-site and determined the found material tested positive as meth, said Ogden Police Lt. Chad Ledford. The amount was minimal, he said, not a bag as has been rumored, but a quantity in a gum wrapper.

Because the meth was found in a portable toilet that hundreds of workers had access to, there were no clear leads as to who it belonged to, he said.

The small amount did not justify committing the time and resources to interview hundreds of people on the site, Ledford said. "In a case like that, we just confiscate it, take it into evidence, where it will be destroyed."

McNabb said the workflow on the temple remodel was not disrupted by the find or the company reaction.

"We have protocol for this kind of thing," he said. We provide a drug-free workplace and require our subcontractors to take the same approach. We take the matter very seriously.

"This happens every day in the world we live in. No one condones it, but it's the society we live in."

Big-D employees should be lauded for reporting the meth find, he said.

"From a damage-control aspect, they could easily have disposed of it and turned a blind eye. But we take the health and welfare of employees and subcontractors very seriously."

McNabb said the company has no reason to believe the integrity of the remodeling project has been compromised. "Not at all."

The renovation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple, which first opened in 1972, is expected to be completed sometime next year.

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