The Indiana State Police-Lowell and Bremen Districts released methamphetamine lab statistics from the counties they serve. 6 meth labs have been seized by the Department in LaPorte County and in Pulaski County, 6 in Jasper County, 7 in White County, 16 in Fulton County, 15 in Cass County, and 53 in Marshall County.
30 meth labs were seized by Indiana State Police in Starke County.
“It is an ongoing problem,” said Kenny Pfost, Chief Detective with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department. “A lot of people think that it’s not a problem like it used to be but it’s still very active in Starke County. We’ve had several arrests made involving methamphetamine. However, the statistics that the State Police have doesn’t necessarily involve active meth labs. It could be trash labs that are found alongside the road, anything that they have to clean up.”
Pfost said that a lot of tips they receive come from citizens aware of the activities around them. Citizens are encouraged to watch for suspicious activity in their neighborhoods and report it to police. If people are in a store buying lithium batteries, drain cleaner and table salt, it could be an indication that the person could be involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine:
“A lot of these items are household items and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re manufacturing methamphetmine, but it could be thing if they’re buying lithium batteries, drain cleaner and table salt. Chances are, there’s probably a good possibility that’s what they’re doing.”
Pfost says the process of making meth has changed over the years.
“Methamphetamine labs in the past were using anhydrous ammonia and ether, or starting fluid,” explained Pfost. “Anhydrous ammonia has almost become a thing of the past. Now they’re using, in a lot of cases, cold packs that you can buy at CVS or Walgreens to get the ammonium nitrate. What replaces ether is some sort of camping fuel.”
That’s not the only change:
“It’s becoming more and more mobile,” he added. “You could be at a stop light and it could be in the car right next to you. When you think of a methamphetamine lab, you think of a big extravagant laboratory setting, but that’s not necessarily true. The meth labs that they have now, a lot of times we call them backpack labs because they literally fit in a backpack. It’s everything you need right there. It’s just becoming more and more mobile.”
The Indiana State Police reported seizing a total of 1,346 lab in the State in 2010. 1,343 labs were dismantled in 2009 while only 820 labs were dismantled in 2007.