Meth Lab Discovered
Polk County Enterprise, August 2007
TRINITY – Charges were pending this week in connection with a methamphethamine laboratory sized Aug. 8 in a wooded area in The Port Adventure Subdicision.
Turity County Sheriff Steven Jones sadi investiators have een aware that a number of “meth labs” have been set up in the woods in various areas of Trinity Conunty.
“The meth cooks are trying to avoid detetection and one fot he ways they're doing it is to set up their labs in the woods,” Jones aid.
The sheriff said he and his deputies received inforamtion abou such lab located in the Port Adventure Subdicion located off FM 356 east of Sebastopol.
When officers arrived at the site the “meth cooks” were not present but officers found a pair of gray containers filled with lab quiipemnt and items used int eh manufacture of methamphethamines.
“Its very possible that there is asome meth located in side the lab equipment so we sent everything to the lab for analsys,” he said.
Because of the toxic nature of he methamphetmine manufacturing process, Jones said the detailed exmination of the equipment found in the containers will be left to expersts at the Texas Department of Public Safety's lab.
While no arrest have been made in connection with the meth lab discovered August 8, Jones said charges are pending. The sheriff said the matter is expected to be presented to a Trinity County grand jury in the near future.
“Although this might not be what many people think they would see when they hear “meth lab,” it was a major operation,” Jones said. “A lot of meth was produced from this lab and dispersed in our communityu.”
Jones said investigators are aware that other such labs are in operation in other subdivisions and other wooded areas.
“We are working to stop the cooking and use of meth and other illegal narcotics in the county,” he said. “Citizens can help by reading the list below and making themselves aware of meth lab activity or other drug issues and/or paraphernalia.”
Jones said that if citizens know what to look for, they can report it anonymously to the Trinity County Crime Stoppers program at 642-2334.
“When people are cooking meth their bodies absorb the chemical through the skin,” he said. “If they are cooking meth around children, they are exposing the children to the chemical and that can cause major medical problems.”
Jones said a person's body will “push out” or “reject” some of the chemicals in the form of boils and sores on the skin. If the boils and sores are not properly treated, they can lead to severe medical problems.
Chemicals commonly associated with the manufacture of meth include: acetone, alcohol (isopropyl or rubbing), anhydrous ammonia and ammonium sulfate (fertilizer), battery acid (sulfuric acid), bleach, Coleman fuel, drain cleaner (sulfuric acid or caustic soda), drain openers such as Red Devil lye, Heet and Iso-Heet, gasoline additives (methanol/alcohol), hydrogen peroxide, iodine (both crystal and liquid), lithium batteries, matches (red phosphorus), mineral spirits, muriatic acid, over-the-counter cold medicine containing ephedrine or pseudoephidrine, salt (table or rock), sodium and lithium metal, toulene and tricholoroethane (gun cleaning solvent).
Equipment commonly associated with meth labs include: aluminum foil, bed sheets, blenders, bottles (soda, water and milk bottles), chemistry glassware, camp stoves, cheesecloth, coffee filters, cotton balls, duct tape, electric portable hot plates (single and double), funnels, garden spray jugs, gas cans, jugs, paper towels, pH test strips, plastic tubing, pressure cookers, propane tanks and thermos, Pyrex dishes, rags, rubber and latex gloves, strainers, swimming pool chemicals, thermometers and turkey basters.
Among the “unusual behavior” which might be exhibited by residential tenants/building occupants which could be indicators of a meth lab include:
Access denied to landlords, neighbors and other visitors.
Chemical staining on walls and floors.
A multitude of expensive home items such as stereos with no visible means of support.
Cash purchases and payments.
Covering or blacking-out of windows.
Security measures such as cameras or baby monitors outside of buildings.
Unusual traffic patterns, such as excessive night traffic or large numbers of visitors with short stays.
Burn pits, stained soil or dead vegetation indicating dumped chemicals or waste from a meth lab.
Abnormal chemcical odors not normally associated with apartments, houses or buildings. These odors may be similar to sweet, bitter, ammonia or solvent smells.
Large amounts of household chemicals found in odd places such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and motel rooms.
Anyone who suspects that a meth lab is in operation is urged to leave the site at once and report it. They should not open any coolers, containers or boxes and they should not touch any item.