Columbus police have made four meth-related arrests in the past three days, and law enforcement is having a hard time keeping the narcotic off the streets.
Methamphetamines are a constant problem for the Columbus Police Department. Most recently, two people were arrested for manufacturing the drug in a meth lab and two more are charged with possession with intent to distribute.
Police Capt. Gil Slouchick says, however, that the growing issue is meth that's being transported from surrounding areas. "We're seeing more meth that's being brought into Columbus instead of made," he says, "although we do still see some shake and bake labs and they're still as dangerous as they always were."
On multiple occasions the portable "shake and bake" labs have started fires, but more often police are left cleaning up the remains of one.
Slouchick says, "A lot of times we'll find dump sites and these are extremely dangerous, extremely hazardous. You worry about children getting into them. We're fixin' to get into spring and summer with a lot more kids going outside and playing, so they have to be cleaned up properly."
Clean up can cost thousands with the combined expenses of suits, gloves and manpower. All meth lab evidence then gets turned over to the GBI for proper disposal.
Slouchick says there's no way to tell where the next meth lab will pop up, but concerned citizens are instrumental in making arrests. "People run into them, they see them, they find them in vacant houses and hotel rooms and call us on that," he says.
Shake and bake meth labs could appear anywhere in Columbus, so it's important to contact the police if you see any suspicious behavior. The remnants of meth labs usually contain dangerous chemicals, so don't touch any bottles with unidentifiable liquids.