Meth bust raises concerns

Published 8:35 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A drug bust on Monday netted a portable methamphetamine lab and hints at a growing concern for narcotics officers in Troy and surrounding areas.

Troy Police arrested 37-year-old Jason Ming on Monday, charging him with manufacturing methamphetamine first degree. He was being held on $50,000 bond.

The arrest came after officers received a report of suspicious persons on U.S. 231 South near Swindall Trailer Park and the old Pike Lanes bowling alley. “Police were informed that a while male and a white female were reported to be in a red Chevrolet pickup at a trailer …. possibly in a drug related incident,” Sgt. Benny Scarbrough said.

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When officers arrived, they found a portable methamphetamine lab in the vehicle.

These types of portable labs are a growing concern, said a Troy narcotics officer who spoke on condition of anonymity. “This is probably the third one I’ve seen in the past two months,” the officer said.

These portable labs consist of 32-ounce plastic drink bottles, such as a Gatorade or Powerade bottle; another 20-ounce plastic drink bottle; and the materials used to make the methamphetamine – all of which can be easily found in houses or on store shelves. The whole setup “can fit inside a child’s school backpack,” the officer said.

“I went to a school three years ago where they talked about these portable labs, and at the time they warned if it’s not in your area yet, it will be coming,” the officer said. “It’s here.”

And locating and confiscating the labs adds another layer of difficulty to the officers’ efforts. “They can be driving down the road cooking this stuff,” he said, elaborating that the process involves creating chemical reactions in the bottles.

Scarbrough said officers cannot reveal specific details about the manufacturing process due to concerns about public safety. “But these things are dangerous,” Scarbrough added. “I don’t think the people realize … it’s like holding a weapon in your hand.”

No charges were filed Monday against the female involved, but Scarbrough said the incident remains under investigation.