Drug Enforcement Team kept busyPublished 9:13am Monday, April 26, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS – It’s been a busy start to the year for the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team.
Since Jan. 1, there have been 47 methamphetamine incidents. The team has also located 25 dump sites and had its hands on 94 one-pot labs, while taking 24 guns off the street.
The drug is not only a chemical danger to the community but it is breaking up families. Eleven children have been taken into protective custody since Jan. 1 due to their caretakers’ involvement with meth.
Det. Sgt. David Toxopeus said those numbers are a huge increase.
“On average, we were getting labs once a month maybe. Now we’re getting 10-plus a month,” he said. “A lot of it is education, educating people. They kind of know what to look for.”
Toxopeus said citizen complaints are vitally important in curbing the manufacturing of meth.
“The biggest way we combat one-pot labs is from citizens’ complaints, people calling in saying something’s wrong with my neighbors,” he said. “Too much traffic, strong smell of chemicals.”
Citizens can recognize a one-pot meth lab as a two-liter bottle with a crystalized, off white-colored residue inside.
If someone locates a suspected meth lab, he should call 911 and report it but not touch it. The seemingly harmless bottles are a major fire hazard and contain chemicals dangerous to inhale.
“Sometimes they might be in an inactive state, but if you shake it or it gets jarred around, some of the chemicals will react,” Toxopeus said. “It could be just a pinhole but a 20-foot flame could shoot out of that pinhole.”
After the snow melted in Cass County, the drug enforcement team was inundated with old meth labs, which was another chore for the team to clean up.
If citizens suspect someone being involved with meth, they can call the Cass County drug tip line at (800) 462-9328.