By: Jimmy Watt
Public Information Officer
(Walhalla, SC)————————————–With the discovery of a back pack that contained items that could potentially be used in a shake and bake style methamphetamine lab, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, in our efforts to be proactive, is warning citizens to use extreme caution upon discovery of anything that appears to be suspicious.
Back on December 2nd, a Narcotics Agent with the Special Operations Division was notified by a U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Agent of a possible Methamphetamine lab discovered down an embankment along a portion of Rich Mountain Road near Mountain Rest.
A back pack had been discovered that contained items that could be used in the production of Methamphetamine via a shake and bake style lab. However, a Methamphetamine lab was not discovered and the back pack was properly disposed of.
The Sheriff’s Office has seen a reduction in the number of meth labs dismantled in the last few years, from 22 in 2013 to 15 in 2014 to 7 last year. However, that does not mean that citizens should let their guard down or think that these shake and bake style labs have totally gone away.
“The reductions in the shake and bake style labs can be traced to a series of factors, including restrictions on the amount of pseudoephedrine that individuals can buy to the improved quality, more economical and efficient production and availability of methamphetamine that is trafficked into the country from places such as Mexico with the cartels there,” says Jimmy Watt, Public Information Officer from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office. “We have issued three previous press releases, on February 28th and October 15th of 2013 and March 2nd, 2015, regarding the dangers these labs present and/or the actual discovery of shake and bake labs and how to protect yourself and your family. We continue to be proactive in reporting this information as this does pose a public safety risk to everyone when they are discovered. Also, we continue to see individuals attempting to purchase Pseudoephedrine above the legal limit of what is allowed by law and we did make arrests for such charges in the last Operation Infinity drug sweep that we conducted.”
The Shake and Bake style meth labs are produced in two-liter drink bottles and then once the methamphetamine is produced and extracted, the bottles and their contents are disposed of. Even though the meth has been produced, the products that are used can remain in the bottles, which poses a health and safety risk for anyone who discovers the bottles and their contents due to the fact that the products can be highly toxic either by themselves or mixed together. And in the case of the back pack discovered December 2nd, the contents to make meth that was discovered poses a problem for the safety of our citizens and law enforcement as well.
The Sheriff’s Office is offering these tips should you discover a two-liter bottle and/or a back pack and the contents appear to be suspicious:
• If you do find a two-liter bottle and/or a back pack and the contents appear to be suspicious, do not pick up or tamper with the items. Move as far away from it as you can. The bottles could have what appears to be a substance that looks like sand in the bottom of the bottle. Also, do not tamper with other items, such as syringes, if you discover those as well.
• On a rainy day or a day in which there is a lot of moisture in the air, opening a back pack or bottle that contains either a meth lab and/or items that could be used in a shake and bake style lab could cause the contents to explode once they come in contact with the moisture.
• Never open and breath in the contents of these labs as doing so could expose you to products that could cause severe health problems and could potentially put your life at risk. For example, breathing in the contents of a meth lab could cause severe internal burning.
• Once you back away, immediately call 911 and provide as much information as you can about what was discovered and where it was discovered. Law enforcement personnel are trained to safely remove any labs and/or back packs that have been discovered.