Gonzales man, 31, sought  after explosion at meth lab

Sheriff’s deputies on Friday were looking for a man suspected of creating a meth lab that exploded Thursday in Ascension Parish.

Ryan Espinoza, 31, of 13206 George Rouyea Road, Gonzales, was wanted for allegedly creating a clandestine lab, simple arson, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia after a witness placed him at the scene of an explosion in Geismar, Sheriff Jeff Wiley said in a news release Friday.

A neighbor of Espinoza told authorities that he heard a loud explosion and saw a large flame at 37313 La. 74, Lot 181, in Geismar. When the neighbor ran to the residence to rescue people inside, the witness told authorities, he saw Espinoza leaving the residence while carrying a large black bag.

When detectives arrived at the scene, Wiley said, they found evidence consistent with the manufacture of meth. They also located Espinoza’s girlfriend, Christy Cockerham, at the residence and arrested her.

Cockerham, 35, of 37313 La. 74, Lot 181, Geismar, was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail on counts of creation of a clandestine lab and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Anyone with information regarding Espinoza’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division at (225) 621-8350 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP (7867).