Comments Off on Suspected ‘Meth Cooks’ Arrested, Lab Uncovered in Raid

Two people are in jail after the Trumbull Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force raided a suspected methamphetamine lab in Leavittsburg on Thursday.

TAG raided the home at 164 Park Drive after a month-long investigation. Inside, authorities found methamphetamine, chemicals, digital scales, portable radios, a police scanner, pill crusher and packaging materials. Agents also found glass beacons and kitchen cookware used in the manufacturing process, hypodermic needles, mason jars and other drug paraphernalia.

Outside, the house was equipped with a camera security system to monitor people coming and going. No water or electric service was available and several burn pits with garbage were found throughout the property. Agents said the disposal of meth waste by burning or disposing on others’ property is a common practice by meth cooks.

Agents said there was not an active meth lab, but the drug had been manufactured there.

TAG arrested 36-year-old Joshua Eubank and 25-year old Chelsey Kirby, who are facing felony trafficking and manufacturing charges. They pleaded not guilty today in Warren Municipal Court and remain at the Trumbull County Jail. They are due back in court next week.

When dealing with a meth lab, there is an explosion risk, and typically a lot of chemicals that when mixed a certain way can be dangerous. Those chemicals need cleaned up once a lab is shut down. In smaller cases like this one, HazMat teams can handle it. But that’s not always the case, and local communities are responsible for the cleanup.

“If it was a minor cleanup, and HazMat could do it, we’d be okay. But if we had to call a company in to do it, it could cost anywhere between $500 and $1,400, and it would be my expense,” said Warren Township Police Lt. Don Bishop.

That cost at one point was covered by federal funding from the Drug Enforcement Administration. However, those dollars are no longer available, meaning any cleanup would be the responsibility of the local jurisdiction.

“I was dumbfounded number one because everybody is in a financial crunch. And we’re trying to crunch our numbers now just to keep the guys working that we have. We can’t afford an expense that way,” Bishop said.

Officials hope lawmakers find a way to restore the funds for cleanup.

“I hope that our state legislators and so forth get involved and realize the potential it could do to local police department or the communities that support us,” Bishop said.

Police said Eubank and Kirby are formerly from Ashtabula County and Eubank has a criminal history and has served time in prison for prior offenses relating to the manufacture and possession of methamphetamine.

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