Comments Off on Methamphetamine waste popping up like spring flowers across Calhoun County

As the snow melts, methamphetamine dump sites are popping up like spring flowers across Calhoun County.

Last week Battle Creek police found eight plastic bottles used to make the drug in one woods along M-37 in Bedford Township.B9316725027Z_1_20150324170807_000_G1GAAJPHE_1-0

On Tuesday, Calhoun County Sheriff Department deputies collected 18 one-pot bottles and about 26 pounds of waste along a two-mile section of Nine-Mile Road near Burlington.

There is more of the dangerous material along county roads and in urban areas, police said.

“Under the leaves, and with the snow melting, there are things sitting out there since winter and we are now just finding the stuff,” said Battle Creek Officer Scott Marshall. But he said fresh waste is always being thrown along roads and dumped where people may stumble upon it.

Marshall was wearing a protective suit and breathing mask last week while collecting the spent one-pot bottles and some packages of toxic chemicals.

“It is in urban neighborhoods and all the way to rural neighborhoods,” Marshall said. “There is no place this drug hasn’t touched.”

Early Sunday three people were injured, one seriously, when a one-pot meth lab exploded at a house on Nine-Mile Road near where deputies were finding waste on Tuesday.

Deputy David Homminga said it’s believed about half of meth cooks injure someone.

But if they are successful, the residue from making meth is discarded and can be dangerous to innocent people.

“It is people who are out enjoying the weather and finding the dump sites,” Marshall said. “Stay away from suspicious-looking pop bottles.”

“Don’t move the package because it could catch fire or explode or emit a hazardous gas,” said Detective Bryan Gandy of the sheriff department.

The possibility of finding toxic material is high in Calhoun County, which ranks fifth in Michigan for meth labs.

Over the last five years Calhoun County has reported 155 meth labs in 2010; 32 in 2011; 154 in 2012; 114 in 2013; and 113 in 2014. The numbers dropped in 2011 because the federal Drug Enforcement Agency did not reimburse local agencies for clean-up costs and local governments could not afford the expense.

“I think more people are using it,” Gandy said. “And it can be all over the county.”

Gandy said the majority of labs are in the southern part of the county. Usually the waste is found not far from where someone is making the drug.

“They want to get rid of the stuff so they don’t get caught and they don’t want to be driving with it either, so they go just far enough away to get rid of it so they don’t get caught,” Gandy said.

Homminga and Deputy Tyler Paesens said most of the material is found along roads and in ditches.

“They are just driving along and throw them,” Homminga said.

On Tuesday deputies found plastic bottles and bags of waste in the ditches along with old tires, Bud Lite bottles, McDonald’s cups and a deer carcass.

As deputies found meth waste, Homminga approached wearing protective clothing and carrying heavy plastic buckets to contain the material.

Marshall said people should watch for plastic bottles without labels and with granular material inside.

“Steer clear of the area and don’t approach it,” he said. “The gases that are bottled up inside are still toxic. And you can still find active labs if someone is driving along and is scared and throws the bottle out the window and the cook is not finished. So don’t open anything. You never know what you are going to get. The last thing you want is a child taking a sniff.”

And Gandy agreed, saying said anyone finding a suspicious bottle or package should leave it alone and call 911.

“Don’t move it,” he said. “Don’t bring it back to the house thinking it will make it easier for the police. We don’t mind climbing down into the ditch.”

http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/story/news/local/2015/03/24/meth-waste-popping-like-spring-flowers/70394142/

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