More meth labs in Ohio

COLUMBUS – The number of methamphetamine labs found in the state has spiked to 770 cases, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

“This is the largest number of labs that our local and state law enforcement officers have responded to in a single year since BCI started keeping statistics in 2005,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said on Monday.

Meth labs are tallied based on the October-September fiscal year and reflect only the meth lab cases reported to Bureau of Criminal Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

“We believe that there are several reasons for the increase, one being that Ohio’s law enforcement officers are aggressively seeking out these labs and finding them,” DeWine said. “Unfortunately, however, there are more labs out there to find. We estimate that approximately 95 percent of the methamphetamine labs found today are the so-called ‘one-pot’ labs.”

A “one-pot” lab can be created by using a mixture of chemicals in a soda or sports drink bottle. These labs are less complicated and cheaper than the in-home labs that law enforcement typically found several years ago, DeWine said.

Many local suspected meth operations have been broken up this year as well, both “one-pot” and otherwise.

Last month in Lordstown, law enforcement raided a suspected lab in a shed on Hallock Young Road. Investigators were on the scene for about five hours, removing materials from what they believed to be a “working meth lab” inside a shed, or side building, next to the residence.

Investigators declined to disclose what kind of materials they collected and no charges have been filed.

In April in Warren, members of a countywide drug unit and Trumbull County’s HAZMAT gathered up a portable meth lab at a home in the 400 block of Douglas Street N.W., that they believed was tossed into the yard.

Later that same week in Leavittsburg, law enforcement happened upon a suspected meth operation while serving an unrelated warrant at a Park Drive home.

Investigators there found a backpack and several containers with unknown liquids in an outbuilding. They also found found syringes, funnels, coffee filters, plastic tubing, gas masks and a gas can with writing that investigators said made it apparent to them that it was used for methamphetamine.

Residual sludge was found on the inside of the container, and inside the backpack was a coffee grinder, pill cutter, cold packs, bottles of lye and muriatic acid, and containers with white powder residue, they said.

BCI agents regularly train law enforcement officers on how to dismantle a meth lab. Agents have also taught dozens of community courses how to identify the signs of a meth lab, DeWine said.