Brunswick Ohio methlab cleanup ordinance would unfairly punish innocent property owners

Brunswick, Ohio landlords, property owners, and vehicle owners will be handed the bill for removing meth lab chemicals and equipment, in addition to what is cost to decontaminate their property, if a new ordinance gets passed by the city council. The cost of hiring methlab clean up contractors to remove the chemicals and equipment left behind by meth cooks can range anywhere between $600 to $10,000, according to Police Chief Carl DeForest. The city council is expected approve the ordinance within a few weeks.

Source:

Martin, Melissa. “Clandestine Lab Cleanup Costs Passed on to Property Owners – The Brunswick Post.” The Brunswick Post. 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 Mar. 2012.

 

 

Ohio: Cuyahoga Falls City Council Passes Cost of Hauling Away Meth Lab Chemicals to Property Owners

Ohio: The Cuyahoga Falls City Council is passing the cost of hauling away meth lab chemicals on to property owners, who are already required to pay thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, to decontaminate their property.  According to Police Chief Tom Pozza, property owners are Tlikely to get billed somewhere between  $1,000 to $2,000 bill to have the chemicals and equipment processed and removed from their property.  One the initial cleanup has been done, those property owners can then hire someone to perform the decontamination process.

he City of Cuyahoga paid $16,000 to a private contractor to haul away meth labs between July and September of this year, according to Ohio.com.   Police Chief Tom Pozza, a supporter of the ordinance, feels that the high cost of removing the chemicals and equipment from a meth lab belongs to the property owner, not to the community.  Landlords, who opposed the ordinance, feel the new rules will place an unfair financial burden on them.

Source:

Mace, Gina. “Cuyahoga Falls Property Owners to Pay for Meth Lab Cleanups – Local News.” Ohio. Com. 29 Oct. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2011.

West Virginia: Boone County Career and Technical Center to remain closed pending meth clean up

West Virginia:  The Boone County Career and Technical Center, which was closed on July 22nd because of meth contamination, does not expect to reopen to students by the start of the new school year on August 22, 2011.

The West Virginia trade school, which tested positive for meth residue earlier this summer, is not expected to be open to students for about three more weeks. During that time, Meth Lab Cleanup LLC, the company that was approved to perform the clean up at the school by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, expects to complete the remediation of the school in about two weeks. The meth lab cleanup company plans to put in 10 hour days and work weekends to help speed up the clean up process so that students can get back in to their school, as soon as possible.  Once the clean up process has been completed, the school will remained closed for an additional week, time that will allow it to be retested and certified “clean” by the state of West Virginia.

Meth lab testing conducted in the building, prompted by a police investigation,  revealed that 4 rooms in the school (the principal’s office, a hallway outside the office, a men’s bathroom, and a women’s bathroom) and duct work inside the school have been contaminated with .3 micrograms of meth per 100 square centimeter,  a level that exceeds the state’s cleanup standard level of .1 micrograms per square inch.

(picture:)  Keith Phipps, former principal (left) and Jack Turley, former teacher (right)

Jack Turley, a former teacher at the school, and Keith Phipps, former school principal,  are believed to have caused the contamination at the school. According to news reports, Turley told West Virginia state police that he bought Sudafed pills from a man, manufactured meth with it, and then smoked it at the school with Principal Phipps.Both Turley and Phipps have been arrested on misdemeanor charges for buying over their legal limit of pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient needed to manufacture meth. Testing levels found at the school indicate that the men did not make meth at the school. Turley has been suspended by the school without pay. Phipps, the school’s former principal was also suspended, however he has reportedly been suspended with pay.

Until the school officially re-opens, its students will be attending classes in an alternate location that has yet to be determined:Boone County School Superintendent John Hudson hopes to confirm that location by next Wednesday.

Hopefully, the meth contamination at the Boone County Career and Technical School will be the first and last time that the county will have to pay for the clean up of one of its school buildings or any other county building. The meth cleanup process for the school has been estimated at approximately $169,000, an expense that places an expensive burden on the county’s budget.  Luckily,  the school’s Southern campus location, which is connected to the school that is being remediated, was not contaminated.

Sources:

Associated Press. “Meth Residue Removal at W. Va. School Not Finished on Time for Students | The Republic.” The Republic – Columbus, Indiana. 13 Aug. 2011. Web. 14 Aug. 2011.
Hopper, Jessica. “West Virginia Vocational School Shut Down After Meth Residue Found – ABC News.” ABCNews.com: Daily News, Breaking News and ABC News Video Broadcasts – ABC News. ABC News, 26 July 2011. Web. 14 Aug. 2011.
“Meth Cleanup Started at Boone County Schools.” Charleston – Huntington Live and Local West Virginia News – WOWKTV.com. WOWK 13 News, 09 Aug. 2011. Web. 14 Aug. 2011.

 

 

 

Tennessee Methamphetamine Vehicle Title Legislation: What you should know

Tennessee motor vehicles that have been used to make meth will have “methamphetamine vehicle” added to their title, if Senate bill SB 0266 becomes law.

According to the bill, any law enforcement agency that impounds a vehicle that was used to make meth, will have to report that vehicle to the department of revenue within 30 days. The department would then issue a new title for that vehicle and add “Methamphetamine Vehicle” on the front of the title.  Anyone who buys that vehicle, even if its resold, would also have “Methamphetamine Vehicle” noted across the front of the title they are issued. The bill was  passed on May 12, 2011.

The cost of implementing a disclosure law for meth lab vehicles in TN, according to the Department of Revenue, isn’t cheap. A breakdown of expenses by the Fiscal Review Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly shows that this well-intentioned bill will cost Tennessee taxpayers a bundle.

  • $179,000  to purchase the computers, software, and other equipment needed to implement it. (one time expense)
  • $1,219,700.00 to hire an additional 35 additional employees that will are needed to implement the problem. $850,000 (salaries) plus $369,000 (benefits). (recurring expense)
  • $1,215,758  for new forms, materials, and office supplies. (recurring expense)

When you add it all up, putting “Methamphetamine Vehicle” on the titles of vehicles  that have been used to make meth would cost taxpayers in Tennessee over $2 million dollars a year. The recurring cost of hiring new employees and office expenses which will need to be paid every year will be at least  $2,435,458.00. As years go by, increases in employee benefit packages (health insurance, etc), increasing cost for office supplies, and an increasing meth lab problem in Tennessee will only add to the cost of implementing a “Methamphetamine Vehicle” title law.

The bill does not include a requirement that the vehicles be decontaminated before they are sold.

Now what if:

Pseudoephedrine were a prescription drug in Tennessee and meth cooks couldn’t get their hands on the only ingredient they absolutely need to have to make meth? The cost of implementing that is $0 and the benefits to all Tennesseans would be communities that are healthier and safer for them and their children.

 

Indiana meth lab clean up money from DEA grants end

Indiana: Meth lab clean up money that has been supported, in part, by DEA grants is expected to run out in just four months. It couldn’t come at a worst time. Meth labs are increasing across the Hoosier state.

In 2010, Indiana had to pay for the clean up of 1,395 meth labs, an increase over the previous year when they discovered 1,362 meth labs across the state. Money to pay an environmental clean up contractor to remove, label, and destroy the meth lab chemicals from meth labs totaled $561,567 last year, all of which was obtained from DEA grant money.

Four counties in Indiana had more meth labs last year than all of the counties in the state.  Those counties include: Vandeburgh County (95)  Kosciusko County (85) Noble County (74) and Elkhart County(71).

Law enforcement agencies are now scrambling to find alternate sources of funding to cover the cost of cleaning up the toxic wastes that will be left behind by meth-makers. Despite the fact that the cost of cleaning up after meth makers has been significantly reduced from the $3,000 per lab that it cost them in 2006, counties in Indiana still face an average cost of about $550 to clean up every meth lab that law enforcement officers find.

“With the large amount that we have in our county, it’s a real concern about how we’re going to get some of these items actually cleaned up. If the state police decide that they don’t want to or they just can’t fund that then it falls back on us. And I just don’t know if it’s feasible for such a rural county like Kosciusko to have the funds.” ~ Sgt. Chad Hill with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department

“What we have been doing is just looking at the funding we have and looking at moving some dollars in our current grant so that we can cover this expense. ~First Sergeant Niki Crawford, Commander of the state police Meth Suppression Section.

If  alternate funding fails to fill the gap left by clean up funding cuts by the federal government,  the  additional cost will have to be passed on to the counties and ultimately to the taxpayers who reside within them.

 

Sources:

“Meth Lab Clean up Funding Runs Dry.” WANE.com | Fort Wayne, Indiana News, Weather Sports with State and National Coverage. 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 01 Mar. 2011.

COYNE, Tom. “Funding to Pay for Meth Lab Cleanups Is Gone – Chicagotribune.com.” Chicago Tribune: Chicago News, Sports, Weather and Traffic – Chicagotribune.com. 25 Feb. 2011. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.

Riordan, Daniel. “Fed Funds For Meth Lab Cleanups Reduced.” Times-Union Newspaper – Warsaw, IN. 25 Feb. 2011. Web. 26 Feb. 2011.

Flip that house: Meth lab foreclosures and cleanup costs

Buying a foreclosed home can be a lucrative purchase for real estate investors, who can successfully flip the house for thousands more than they paid for it. But, the growth of meth lab homes in the U.S. has made house flipping much less profitable than a decade ago. Combined with a slow economy, buying a foreclosure for house flippers, may in fact cost them money instead of putting money in their pockets. That is, if the real estate investor, pays to get the home decontaminated. It’s easier and cheaper however to sell the home to someone else. Once they buy it, the responsibility for the cleanup becomes theirs, according to Oklahoma law.

Case in point:

A realtor in Oklahoma sold a meth lab home to a couple, who were first time home buyers last year, a couple who later found out from a police officer that there had previously been a meth lab bust at their home. It was all the information they needed to make the decision to have their home professionally tested. The testing confirmed what the officer had told them – the home tested positive for toxic chemicals associated with the manufacturing of meth. Feeling ripped-off and outraged over being sold a toxic home, they decided their next step would be to sue the realtor who sold them the house, a house they say the realtor tried to “flip” for a profit.

By Oklahoma law, any knowledge that a home was used as a meth lab, must be disclosed to a prospective buyer. The realtor, in this case, claims they were unaware about the home’s toxic history. Under Oklahoma law, a seller need only disclose “known” problems. So, like my son, these new home owners might have to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for testing and cleanup. Some homes must be stripped down to the studs before they certify as clean. Additionally, they may have to dispose of all of the items they moved in to the home to keep the home from becoming re-contaminated. The owners decided to take the matter to court. If they lose, they have two choices – pay for the cleanup or let them bank repossess it, which will put it back in the foreclosure pool of homes for sale. Banks are not required to disclose problems about the homes they sell as foreclosure.

But home buyers aren’t the only one at risk of living in a meth lab home. Renters are at an even greater risk of living in a meth lab. While sellers are supposed to divulge any knowledge that they have of a home being used as a meth lab, renters are not given the same consideration under the law.

Oklahoma does not require that a home be professionally cleaned, although it does warn property owners that they should use caution when cleaning a contaminated home. Toxins present in a home can cause a host of health problems, some of which are serious including cancer, kidney, liver, and brain damage. It’s why professional cleaners cover themselves from head to toe when they clean a meth contaminated home.

Can you clean a meth lab home like the professionals do? Here’s a video of what the pros do when they “clean” a meth lab home.

Source: Kotv, “Loopholes in Oklahoma’s Meth Law, 2/37/07, accessed 8/16/08, http://kotv.com/news/local/story/?id=121349

Big Business: A Meth Lab Owner’s Story

Ever wonder why someone would choose to make methamphetamine? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out – it’s easy money and it gives them a constant supply of the drug they that are typically addicted to. One meth lab owner confessed to Newsweek, that he made $200,000 a year – tax-free – making and selling methamphetamine and other drugs to his customers. Selling meth can be extremely profitable.

How did he run a $200,000 a year business selling drugs? By using two cell phones, one for those who sold the drugs for him, the other for everyone else and using overnight delivery companies to ship meth to New York City and San Francisco. He also shipped coke to Cleveland and Miami, ecstacy to Chicago, and Special K to Atlanta. He brags that his”sales territory” included most of southern California, from Long Beach to San Diego.

The story of how he became involved in using, making, and selling meth is undoubtedly the story that many meth dealers share. He met someone who introduced him to methamphetamine and he got hooked. Selling meth became a way to make money and support his habit. When he lost his job as an insurance adjuster, it became his livelihood.

“Losing my job forced me to consider the unthinkable for the first time: dealing drugs on a fulltime basis. But even if I could overcome the stigma of such an occupation, and handle the risks involved, I didn’t have enough customers and my debts were mounting even faster. I applied for a few jobs in claims but when they didn’t pan out, my self-esteem hit an all-time low. With a mindset that I had little to lose, I plunged into dealing with the same vigor and work ethic I had displayed in every job I’d ever held”

It paid off for him, for awhile, at least. Business was booming and he admits to having over 100 customers at the height of his “career” as a drug supplier; customers that included doctors, lawyers, research scientists, and even a police dispatcher. But on his 42nd birthday, he found out that one of his customers turned him in, after they got busted for selling some of his coke. He got charged with 11 counts of possession with intent to distribute. Three years later, the court determined that the his vehicle and the seizure of the evidence, were illegally obtained. Seven of the 11 counts were dismissed. The 3 remaining charges cost him $120,000 and required him to make 69 court appearances, which resulted in him losing the case. He spent the next 10 months in prison before being released on parole.

He now earns a living selling hair transplants, he says, but he admits that he never felt more financially secure than when he sold drugs. What about all the money he made when he was selling drugs? He says that he is more in debt now than when he began selling drugs. What the government didn’t take from him, his legal fees have.

Does he think that we are winning the war on drugs? He says ” Most of the time we’re not even picking the right drug to fight. Major League Baseball and Congress are obsessed with steroids, while in basketball, it’s marijuana. But ask any player in either sport what the real problem is, and they’ll tell you meth.”

Will he be able to stay out of prison?  He says that every meth-user that he met in prison says they are going to use meth again as soon as they’re released from prison. ” This is a drug that has an insatiable pull even among people who’ve been off it for several years and who have a tremendous incentive to stay clean–their new-found freedom. The war against meth is complex, and I’m not sure what the answers are. But I do know that the way we’re fighting it now makes it an unwinnable one.”

Original post date: June 25, 2008

Read the full  article on Newsweek