Comments Off on Task force official says most of the Methamphetamine in Floyd County is coming from Mexico now, not local labs

Most of the methamphetamine in Floyd County is coming from Mexico now, according to Rome-Floyd Metro Task Force officials.

“The Mexican cartels are flooding this area with cheap meth and people are buying that and local meth labs are not as much of a problem as they used to be,” said Barry McElroy, assistant commander of the unit. “In Mexico, they have lots of big labs and they can easily get the ingredients. Mexican meth seems to have killed the need for labs around here.”

In the 1990s and early 2000s, there were more local labs, but for the last few years, if people have been cooking meth, they are mostly doing it in small quantities for personal use, McElroy said.

“It is called the one pot cook method,” he explained. “People use a liter Coke or Pepsi bottle and make some and then toss those bottles.”

Another reason for the decline in meth labs is that the ingredients are being more strictly regulated and monitored, McElroy said.

In the last two years, McElroy said his unit has been called in on “maybe two labs” and those were not even full-sized, active labs.

“One, someone had tossed the stuff out of a car trying to get rid of it and it was part of an old lab,” he said. “The other was not a complete lab either. You still see some of that in the West and Midwest part of the country and even in Tennessee, but not so much around here.”

McElroy said he is glad to see the meth labs disappearing, even though the meth problem is not.

“They are very dangerous,” he said. “I’ve always hated working meth labs, because there is always a chance for an explosion. People can drop dead just from breathing in the gases produced when it’s cooked.”

The South as a whole is not as troubled by meth labs as it once was, added McElroy.

“You go to Kansas, Missouri, Arizona now, they still have a big meth lab problem,” he said.

Three men on the Metro Task Force are certified to work meth labs, he said.

“We go in and package everything up and then the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crews come in and take the materials and chemicals and burn them.”

Before the GBI stepped in a few years ago, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration would do all of the chemical handling, he said. The DEA would contract teams to come in to help local law enforcement agencies clean up the site and safely dispose of the chemicals.

Because everything in a meth lab is considered toxic waste, except for the product itself, the process of clearing a site could be complex, he said.

“Georgia does not have a law where it condemns the site,” he said. “Here it is up to the property owner. We would contact them and let them know a meth lab was found and it was up to them how they chose to handle the property after we cleared the chemicals and lab out.”

McElroy said that a meth lab can contaminate a whole house.

“Anything in a house is ruined if meth was cooked in it,” he said. “The sheetrock, the flooring, the carpet, everything. If the people cooking chose to dump chemicals outside, then the ground was contaminated.”

The best solution would be to demolish the house, he added.

The one pot cook method is also dangerous, he said.

“That can still blow up on you, but it doesn’t cause nearly as much damage as the full-sized lab would,” said McElroy.

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