Info necessary for drug investigations

Published 8:52 am Monday, January 25, 2016

Earlier this month, detectives with the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team brought down two meth-labs located within the Dowagiac community.

The first of these busts took place on Jan. 7, when police executed a search warrant at a residence on East Division Street. Detectives uncovered several one-pot methamphetamine labs at the residence, arresting a single person at the location in the process.

On Jan. 14, authorities made another bust, this time on East Railroad Street. There, they found a single one-pot lab, and arrested two people who were operating at the location.

All three suspects have been arraigned in court and are awaiting justice.

According to Cass County Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz, neither of these two raids would have been possible if it wasn’t for tips given to law enforcement from local residents.

We would like to commend the bravery of whoever helped police take down these urban meth operations, and we would like to encourage others who suspect drug activity in the neighborhood to follow suit and warn the authorities.

While the methamphetamine menace has plagued many communities, especially those in Cass County, it’s particularly concerning when producers of the substance choose to base their operations in densely populated areas.

People who make the drug use dangerous chemicals and substances, which, when combined with the makeshift equipment like soda-bottles, are recipe for disaster.

While it’s one thing when a residence out in a relatively baron area explodes or catches fire, in the event such an incident occurs in a residential area like those recent uncovered in Dowagiac, the danger to nearby homes — and residents — are increased tremendously.

With that in mind, it’s crucial that people living in these neighborhoods be vigilant for signs of methamphetamine activity occurring within their streets.

Here are some signs for people to look out for, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center:

• Unusual odors (ether, ammonia, acetone, or other chemicals)

• Excessive amounts of trash, particularly chemical containers, coffee filters or pieces of cloth that are stained red, and duct tape rolls

• Curtains always drawn or windows covered with aluminum foil or blackened on residences, garages, sheds or other structures

• Evidence of chemical waste or dumping

• Frequent visitors, particularly at unusual times

• Extensive security measures or attempts to ensure privacy (no trespassing or beware of dog signs, fences, large trees or shrubs)

• Secretive or unfriendly occupants

We hope that our community continues to work with law enforcement as they continue their efforts to eradicate the specter of methamphetamine and other drugs that continues to hang over us.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.