Fighting Meth Labs: Davie Picked As Storage Site For Confiscated Ingredients

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 2, 2012

By Mike Barnhardt
Enterprise Record

It’s not that hard to make the drug known as meth. But when the ingredients used to make the illegal drug are mixed, the result can be volatile.
North Carolina is trying to stay ahead of the illegal drug trade, and Attorney General Roy Cooper was in Mocksville last week to announce that the Davie Detention Center will house one of four storage units statewide for hold those ingredients.
The ingredients will be stabilized – or the danger taken out – before being transported to Davie, Cooper said.
The move will relieve the pressure of cleaning up illegal meth labs from local law enforcement agencies. The ingredients at a meth lab are considered hazardous chemicals before being stabilized, and must be treated as such. Protective clothing, and sometimes even oxygen masks, are necessary for those cleaning the labs. Some local agencies were reluctant to raid labs because they couldn’t afford the clean up.
Now, the SBI will handle the job. A mobile unit will go to the scene of the lab. Trained agents will stabilize the drugs and bring them to Davie, where they will be held until picked up for incineration.
The ingredients will no longer be of use to a meth maker before being brought here, Cooper said.
Officers were on hand from Davie, Yadkin and Wilkes counties, as well as SBI agents as Cooper explained the process.
“We know how deadly a drug meth can be,” Cooper said. “It makes people violent and paranoid.”
It is made in homes and hotel rooms, in vehicles and on the street. Many of the makers are users, making it even more dangerous, he said.
“When you make this drug, it is volatile, and emits toxic fumes. We’ve had to removed thousands of children from homes where it was being made.”
Until last year, the DEA took on the responsibility of cleaning up meth labs.
“The locals were stuck with thousands of dollars in bills that weren’t in the budget. We decided to deal with this issue,” he said.
Local law enforcement agencies contact the SBI, which sends a trained team in a secure vehicle. They stabilize the ingredients and take them to a secure, locked regional facility. The storage unit itself costs $16,000.
“It’s not volatile when they bring it here,” Cooper said. “There is no charge to local law enforcement.”
Cooper said the state is making it harder for people to make meth. In addition to a mandatory prison sentence for anyone convicted of making the drug, the state is putting requirements on obtaining the ingredients, including showing a driver’s license before buying …