Meth messes worry Michigan State Police

Posted: 1st April 2013 by Doc in Uncategorized
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With spring highway pickups beginning April 13, law enforcement officials are asking volunteers to leave one piece of trash to the professionals.

Volunteers should call law enforcement if they find any roadside methamphetamine paraphernalia.

Materials used for methamphetamine production in St. Clair County are documented by the Michigan State Police.
Materials used for methamphetamine production in St. Clair County are documented by the Michigan State Police. / Michigan State Police
Methamphetamine paraphernalia found by the Michigan State Police in St. Clair County.
Methamphetamine paraphernalia found by the Michigan State Police in St. Clair County

“There have been a couple of instances in St. Clair County in the past month and a half,” said Michigan State Police Trooper Derek Hoffmann.

“Typically, when the snow melts that’s when people start finding stuff.”

John Olgar, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the department’s Adopt-a-Highway spring pickup will run from April 13 to April 21 in the Port Huron area.

Olgar said volunteers watch a video about how to identify meth paraphernalia.

“In previous years, meth lab materials have been discovered by AAH volunteers in regions across the state,” Olgar said in an email. “As the video says, if AAH volunteers come across what appear to be meth lab materials, they are not to touch anything and need to immediately contact the Michigan State Police or the nearest MDOT office.”

Hoffman said people should look out for two-liter pop bottles, or large Gatorade bottles, containing an off-white or yellow sludge.

Detective Brian Kerrigan, of the Port Huron Police Department, said other signs of a meth lab are:

• Tubing

• Coleman camping fuel

• Disassembled lithium batteries

• Plastic bottles of lye or drain cleaner

• Blister packs of nasal decongestant

• Propane tanks with blue discoloration at the valves

• Coffee filters with a reddish tint or reddish granule substance

• Glass cooking ware such as mason jars

“Just one of those bottles wouldn’t necessarily be an indicator of meth, but different things all grouped together at a site could be a sign of a meth lab,” Kerrigan said.

He said the items might be packed inside a duffel bag or cooler and left on the side of the highway.

Kerrigan said reports of meth labs are not uncommon.

“It certainly has been on the rise in the last couple of years in St. Clair County,” Kerrigan said. “We have had a couple of complaints where it’s been located on the side of the road.”

The leftover paraphernalia poses a threat to people, Kerrigan said, and should never be picked up by volunteers.

Kerrigan said accelerant left in the bottom of canisters could be a fire hazard. Leftover substances also could create fumes.

“By moving that, it could start the reaction again that could give off ammonia gas,” he said.

Sheriff Tim Donnellon said a recent chase provided a good example of how meth paraphernalia could become littered on roadways.

On Feb. 27, three people led several law enforcement agencies on a chase from Port Huron to Marine City and back.

During the chase, the passengers allegedly tossed out meth paraphernalia along the roadway. When law enforcement stopped the car, a working meth lab was found inside.

“That just shows you right there what we’re dealing with,” Donnellon said.

Michael Reaves, director of public safety for Port Huron, said while paraphernalia was being thrown from the vehicle, central dispatch marked where the items were thrown on the route.

After the chase, the items were picked up and disposed of properly, Reaves said.

Kerrigan said any volunteers who come across meth materials should contact law enforcement and stay away from the items.

“What we would recommend is that they maybe move upwind of it and move a safe distance away before contacting authorities on it,” he said.


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