As many as 15 children might have been exposed to dangerous chemicals at a Las Vegas day care center where a methamphetamine lab was discovered last week, the U.S. Marshals Service said Thursday.

Stephen Sage, 31, was arrested Friday night at a family child care home that his mother, Mae, has been licensed to operate since 1973.

"This is a nightmare," the woman said in a Thursday evening interview at her home. "You know, I've never done anything wrong in my life."

Mae Sage, 58, said her son had not been allowed to live at her residence for a long time.

Nevertheless, law enforcement officers said they found him and a methamphetamine lab in the home's garage, which his mother had converted for use as a storage area.

"He would come and go without me knowing," Mae Sage said.

Authorities said Stephen Sage was wanted by North Las Vegas police on suspicion of trafficking a controlled substance. He now faces an additional charge of manufacturing methamphetamine within 500 feet of a day care facility.

Officer Jason Arnona, part of the North Las Vegas Police Department's problem-solving unit, said officers did not expect to find the drug lab or a day care center when they arrived at the 6301 Arlington Ave. home, near Torrey Pines and Alta drives.

According to a statement from the U.S. Marshals Service, officers found "highly volatile and toxic precursor chemicals" used to make methamphetamine.

"Sage's mother utilized the residence as a child day-care center and anywhere from four to fifteen children are routinely cared for there each day and would had been exposed to these dangerous chemicals," the statement said.

Jim DiFiore, manager of the Las Vegas Business Services Division, said Mae Sage's license allowed her to care for up to six children.

Mae Sage said she has been caring for four or five children for the past few months. She denied that she has exceeded the number of children allowed by her license

He said a preliminary review of the file showed no history of complaints or serious problems. He said licensing officials inspected the home at least twice a year.

"We only inspect the areas of the home that are utilized by the children," DiFiore said.

David Tonelli, a spokesman for the Clark County Health District, said environmental health specialists conducted a routine inspection of the Sage home in early January.

"There was nothing that would have necessitated any closure or anything like that," he said.

DiFiore said he is preparing a complaint for the Child Care Licensing Board that could lead to the suspension or revocation of Mae Sage's license.

The woman said she learned that her son had a drug problem when he entered a rehabilitation program about two years ago.

"I've turned him in many times before when he would come here," she said.

Mae Sage said she and her son's father, a retired Las Vegas police officer, divorced when the boy was 7 months old.

She said she supported her son and his older brother by providing child care. Her older son works out of state as a correctional officer.

"I don't know how you can raise two sons and they can be so different," she said

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