Five men were arrested Monday night after Howard County Police discovered what appeared to be a meth lab in an Elkridge hotel room.

About 10:40 p.m., police received an anonymous call reporting that people were manufacturing the drug methamphetamine inside a room at the Holiday Inn Express in the 6000 block of Marshalee Drive.

When they arrived, officers noticed a “strong, unusual odor,” police said. They traced the smell to a room on the fourth floor of the hotel.

The officers knocked, and three suspects opened the door, revealing chemicals inside the room. A fourth man arrived at the room and a fifth was found wandering in the parking lot, police said.

All five suspects were arrested, police said. They have been identified as Josiah David Martin, 23, of Swansboro, N.C.; Forrest Derrick Rhoades, 34, of Sallisaw, Okla.; Joshua Wade Matthews, 33, of Sallisaw, Okla.; Amos Joel Martin, 20, of Mesick, Mich.; and Spencer Allen Smith, 22 of Lock Haven, Pa.

Detectives believe the meth was intended for personal use among the five men, who were traveling through the area for work. Investigators suspect the men were unable to find meth locally, so they tried to make it themselves.

Police served a search warrant for the hotel room, where it is believed the men have been staying since Saturday. In addition to the suspected meth production lab, police found heroin and a handgun. The men have been charged with drug manufacturing, drug possession and possession with intent to distribute.

Emergency crews evacuated all the rooms on the fourth floor as well as the rooms above and below the suspected meth lab. Guests staying in those rooms waited in the hotel lobby for several hours, police said.

This item was updated to correct the spelling of Josiah Martin’s name after police issued a correction.

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