By Brian Graves, Staff Writer
Friday, March 1, 2013 —
The remnants of a methamphetamine lab discovered Sunday is serving as a reminder of the increasing problem with meth labs and the hazards they carry.
Officers from both the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation responded to a wooded area near Clifton Road near Stanfield when two men who were walking at the site reported their discovery.
The materials that were found included Coleman fuel, household lye, coffee filters, plastic tubing, organic solvents and a bottle containing an old “one pot” manufacture process.
Deputies from the sheriff’s office and the SBI cleaned the debris and removed all items from the property.
No arrests have been made and Stanly County Sheriff Rick Burris said chances are slim the perpetrators will ever be indentified.
“It was most likely something thrown out from a mobile meth lab,” Burris said.
“There are more and more of those and it’s something the public needs to be aware and cautious about.”
The sheriff said it was fortunate the two men who found the remnants of the meth lab knew what they had found.
“The waste from these labs are incredibly dangerous both in an explosive way as well as the fumes from the chemicals,” Burris said.
“When these people running these things get into a situation, they don’t care where they are or who they’re near when they throw this stuff out.”
Statistics from the state attorney general’s office as of January show the number of meth lab busts have doubled in North Carolina over the past two years.
That office also reports that there were 460 meth busts in 2012 as compared to 344 in 2011.
More than 70 percent of those were the one-pot labs where small items such as the ones found near Clifton Road can be used to cook the drug.
Because of the small size of the elements needed, that has increased the frequency of what law enforcement officials call “mobile labs.”
“I don’t think the public is really aware of just how big a problem this is and how much danger it can expose innocent people to,” Burris said.
Burris said he wanted to emphasize that anyone finding what appears to be these type of materials should report them immediately to the nearest law enforcement agency and not make contact with them because of the hazardous potential they carry.
He also asks anyone wishing to report persons manufacturing methamphetamine to contact the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office at (704) 986-3727, Albemarle Police Department at (704) 984-9500; or the Norwood Police Department at (704) 474-3716.