• Deputies: Women used room at Orlando Ramada to cook meth


    ORLANDO, Fla. - The Ramada on International Drive was partially evacuated and arrests were made after officials said a methamphetamine lab was discovered on Wednesday.

    The Orange County Sheriff's Office said people were cooking meth in one of the rooms, right in the heart of the tourist district between Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

    "I really don't know what's going on, and nobody's saying anything," said tourist Gerald Williams.

    A woman called 911 early Wednesday morning to report a strong chemical odor coming from the room.

    Authorities said the surrounding 12 rooms were evacuated while a hazmat crew tried to sort out what was inside.

    "It could be catastrophic if there was an explosion. The exposures can be deadly," said Capt. Gil McDaniel of the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "The last thing that we want to be known for is something horrific that's happened here."

    Investigators brought out a woman in handcuffs and then placed her in a white jumpsuit in case her clothing was exposed to dangerous chemicals, authorities said.

    She and two other women are in custody and could face charges for making meth, authorities said.

    "I would not want to be on a vacation in a hotel with that activity around me, so absolutely it's not fair to our guests. It's not fair to our business owners out here," said McDaniel.

    The three women are from the Orlando and Ocala areas, and authorities said they recently checked into the room.

    Their names were not released.

    When asked if the hotel would let future travelers know the room was used as a meth lab, an official said there would be no reason to if the room is deemed safe.

    Eyewitness News checked and the Orange County Health Department said there's no regulation requiring the disclosure of a meth lab operation by a property owner.

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