Meth’s dominance grows

Posted: 4th September 2012 by Doc in Uncategorized
Comments Off on Meth’s dominance grows

Late Thursday morning, it didn’t take Wilkes Sheriff’s Department officers long to realize the house they entered on Union Methodist Church Road in Cricket had a working methamphetamine (meth) lab.

“There was that real strong, unique smell in there,” said Lt. Craig Dancy, who heads the sheriff’s department’s narcotics unit. “It’s not like anything else…. If you smell that smell, someone is going to jail.”


meth lab site

METHAMPHETAMINE LAB MATERIALS, including about 10 plastic soft drink bottles used as “one-pot” meth labs, were removed from a rental home in Union Methodist Church Road in Cricket on Thursday. One man has been charged in the case so far


The smell and other signs intensified when they entered a bedroom with a “one-pot” meth lab, which involves a volatile chemical reaction when different ingredients are combined in a 2-liter soft drink bottle to similar container.

Despite someone’s efforts with a fan, said Dancy, toxic fumes from the illegal operation created a haze in the air. Officers say the fumes are strong enough to make eyes water and throats burn.

Dancy and the other officers quickly exited the house and let Det. Danny Jennings and Det. Mike Scott, wearing air-purifying respirators, resume the search. Jennings and Scott are sheriff’s department narcotics officers with specialized meth lab training.

Even if they wear respirator masks and take other precautions, said Jennings, officers wonder about long-term effects they might suffer from being exposed to meth labs.

Dancy said people they have arrested for making meth are aware but don’t seem to mind the health risks they face from manufacturing and consuming substances made from fertilizer, Coleman fuel and other harsh products.

A few minutes earlier, when officers arrived with a search warrant, Jennings and Scott removed people from a car that was about to leave the driveway of the house.

The sheriff’s department charged one of them, Justin Osborne, 28, who rents and lives in the house, with trafficking in methamphetamine, maintaining a dwelling for keeping a controlled substance and manufacturing methamphetamine.

Osborne freely admitted that he was making meth and officers know from the investigation that he was selling it, said Dancy, adding that more people would be arrested in this particular case. Osborne remains in the Wilkes County Jail with a $15,000 secured bond.

He said the investigation started about a month ago after citizens called the sheriff’s department to complain about the high volume of traffic to and from the house.

Dancy and Jennings were still on the scene about 6 p.m. Thursday when an Advanced Environmental Options crew arrived from Gaffney, S.C., to remove about 10 one-pot meth labs in plastic bottles and meth lab ingredients in other containers.

Advanced Environmental Options, certified by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration, is a hazardous waste disposal company hired to remove and dispose of meth lab remains.

Dancy said the time he and Jennings spent waiting for the cleanup crew to arrive from South Carolina was typical.

The meth lab operation on Union Methodist Church Road, another one raided Sunday evening on Airport Road near North Wilkesboro and an old meth lab in a 2-liter bottle found earlier Thursday on Country Club Road near Wilkesboro bring Wilkes County’s total to well over 50 this year. The number of meth labs seized in Wilkes this year by far exceeds the total seized in any other county in the state.

Arthur Brown, 40, was charged with maintaining a dwelling for keeping a controlled substance and manufacturing methamphetamine in connection with the one-pot meth lab operation found in a residence on Airport Road. He remains in the Wilkes County Jail with a $2,500 secured bond.

Dancy said meth and prescription pain pills are now the dominant illegal drugs in Wilkes, by far surpassing cocaine.

Despite law enforcement efforts, he added, there are no signs of meth production slowing down in Wilkes. Dancy said there are plenty of people willing to teach others how to make meth with the one-pot method.

It’s a method that produces small amounts of meth, said officers, but still enough for both personal use and to sell.



Comments are closed.