Comments Off on Wayne County Officials: Growing concern about roadside Methamphetamine trash

Sheriff Ric Wilson remembers as a child riding his bicycle down a road, seeing a can or a sack on the roadside and trying to see how far he could kick it.

“You better not do that today. You don’t know what’s been inside that can or sack,” Wilson said.5546e428bae87_image

He said trash left from methamphetamine labs are scattered next to roadways in woods and in fields.

“It’s not enough that they are making this stuff, but they really don’t care what happens to the spent labs and the ingredients used in process,” Wilson said. “They’ll pitch it in a creek or throw it in a well.

“They don’t think about who could come alone and pick it up, or what could happen if there is residue left and it gets in a creek or someone’s well water.”

As spring gets into full bloom, more and more people will be outside.

“Years ago, it was nothing to be out walking, see a plastic bag or plastic bottle laying on the road and you would pick it up and throw it away,” said Nathan Neese, an investigator with the Lawrence County, Tennessee, sheriff’s department. “You just never thought about something dangerous inside the plastic bag. It was just trash that needed to be cleaned up.”

Tim Glover, director of the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force, said in today’s society trash is not “normal trash” thanks to the development and popularity of the “one-pot” or “shake-and-bake” meth labs.

He said meth-related trash can contain anything from a plastic bottle filled with leftover meth residue to the lithium strips used to start the “cooking” process to lye containers and other items used in the manufacturing process.

“Plus, we’re seeing a lot more used syringes thrown out on the roadsides with the meth trash,” Glover said.

Colbert County Drug Task Force Director Curtis Burns said two years ago, drug agents driving down a section of road in Littleville found 15 used one-pot meth bottles.

He said some of them were spewing chemicals.

“It was all right there on the side of the road, where anyone — an adult or a child — could have picked it up,” Burns said.

Byron Graves runs a crew that cleans up trash along county road rights of way in Colbert County. He has seen his share of “roadside dumps.”

“We find that shake-and-bake stuff all the time, and we’ll call the drug agents to come and get them,” Graves said. “Our guys take all the precautions they can. But you don’t know when you open up a plastic bag or pick up a plastic bottle what’s going to be inside.”

Graves said his crew wear gloves and use trash grabbers to pick up items found on the roadsides. “But I tell them, if they find a bottle with some kind of residue or something that looks like wet sand in it, don’t touch it. Call the drug guys.”

Another point of concern is with crews cutting grass along county roadways.

Glover said every spring and summer, his office will get calls from the Lauderdale County highway department about a possible meth lab someone has found or has run over with a bush hog.

County officials said crews have reported cutting roadways and seeing some kind of white powder or smoke come up from under the bush hog.

Lawrence County, Alabama, Drug Task Force Director Dennis Sharp said “meth trash” can be volatile.

“Some of the lithium strips, dropped in the bottles to start the cook, can be activated by moisture,” Sharp said. “And they can give off a spark or can explode. The last thing we want is for a child, or even an adult, to find a bottle, open it and something happen to them.”

Drug agents said there is also the concern about the odor given off from the cooks left on the roads.

“The odor is strong, very strong,” said Hackleburg Police Chief Kenny Hallmark, a former drug task for member in Marion County. “I’ve seen officers get sick just walking up to a porch of a house where a cook had taken place.”

Wilson urges the public to be aware.

“If someone finds meth trash, leave it alone and call local authorities. Let people who are trained deal with it and dispose of it properly.”

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