DALLAS CO., AL (WSFA) – Fed up residents helped authorities take down active meth labs in Dallas County.
The agency discovered two labs in two days, leading to four arrests.
“Over the past several weeks, we’ve had the public come forward about some meth labs that they suspected were being done in their neighborhoods,” said Captain Mike Granthum with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigator Dewayne Sanders with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Unit says information was received that Keith Neeley and another person were making meth at the house. A search was conducted and Neeley and a woman named Audra Tate were arrested.
“Our office responded to one particular incident where a citizen called in and they smelled a particular odor and they thought a meth lab was being cooked. We responded and found two suspects that were involved in cooking the meth. It was an active meth lab,” Cpt. Granthum revealed.
Neeley and Tate were charged with trafficking methamphetamine, unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
Two days later, and not far away, a call from a citizen with a report about suspicious activity led authorities to a shed behind a home on County Road 63 in Plantersville.
“Another citizen called in just a couple of days after that not too far from there with the same type of complaint. We responded and found another meth lab that was in the process of being cooked,” Granthum said.
Tony Mitchell and Misty Sanders were arrested and charged with trafficking methamphetamine, unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.
Narcotics investigators say in both cases, the “shake and bake” method was being used to make the meth. Plastic bottles are used to mix the ingredients.
It’s quicker, easier and cheaper and has become the most common process.
“They’re very dangerous. They’re highly explosive. There’s not a year that goes by that we don’t have people in the ER that have been burned by these meth labs,” Granthum added. “People are just tired of this kind of activity going on in their neighborhood and that’s what it’s going to take. In Dallas County, we have seen a rise in meth use. It’s a cheap drug. It’s readily available and it’s relatively easy to make.”
Residents said they’re supportive of the work that’s underway to tackle “shake and bake” labs in the county. The sheriff’s department says their crackdown is ongoing.
“They really need to stay on it because it’s bad in Dallas County and Chilton County,” said Pamela Hirras.
As for the suspected meth makers who were arrested, the sheriff’s department is looking to see if they could be tied to other local crimes, including burglaries and thefts.
“A lot of people think this is only about drug use but there’s much more to it. These people are stealing to support their habits. They’re breaking into houses. It just leads from one crime to another,” Granthum said. “We need people to call in and tell us the things that are going on. We can’t make arrests by ourselves. It takes the whole community to do this and people are starting to help flush these meth heads out.”
According to the sheriff’s department, all four suspects remain in the Dallas County Jail on their charges.
A Bibb County hazmat cleanup crew was brought in to dismantle both of the meth labs.