Lakeville MA Meth Lab Bust Sparks Meth Lab Disclosure and Cleanup Concerns

Lakeville, MA – A tip about a suspected meth lab led Lakeville Police Department officers to a trailer located on Shore Avenue on Friday morning that ended with the arrest of two individuals, John Costa, 33, of 28 Shore Ave and Rachel Eldridge, 39, of 489 Whispering Waters Way Gibsonton, FL. Costa and Eldridge were both arrested at the scene on charges including Manufacturing of a Class B Substance and Conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substance Act.

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According to press release by the Lakeville PD, “On 11-15-13 at approximately 07:26 AM the Lakeville Police Department executed a search warrant at 28 Shore Ave. The warrant was a result of information of a possible methamphetamine laboratory at the property. Lakeville Police, DEA, and State Police were able to secure the scene. Lakeville Fire Department, Department of Environmental Protection, and an emergency Hazardous Material Team responded to the scene for assistance.”

While somewhat unusual in Massachusetts, the discovery of a meth lab has long been a costly and dangerous problem in other parts of the nation, that typically results in threats to the health and safety of community members. People who make meth are typically not trained chemists and fires and explosions often result, leading to serious burns for those involved and chemical contamination that can cause serious health problems for innocent individuals and threaten the health of the local environment.

IMG_0584*A picture of a wooded area near Shore Avenue shows the surrounding area has been used as a dumping ground. Although, this pictures does not show any signs of meth lab waste (empty chemical cans, empty pseudoephedrine blister packs, lithium battery casings, plastic bottles with liquid or a muddy substance inside them, etc), the waste tossed by the roadside in this community is worrisome. Meth lab cooks often dispose of their chemical containers and pour leftover ingredients outdoors to minimize the suspicion of neighbors. In doing so, they contaminate the land and groundwater in their communities and put unsuspecting citizens at risk. Parents of children in this area should tell their children not to touch anything that they find outdoors. Shake and bake meth labs, which are made in small plastic bottles including soda bottles, sports drinks, water bottles, etc, can explode. Children or anyone else that handles them puts their safety at risk.

shake_and_bake_bottles*(examples of some meth lab equipment  pictured above and below) Shake and Bake meth labs are frequently associated with small plastic bottles, such as soda bottles.  Acids used to make meth in these bottles can eat through the plastic and cause fires, explosions, and serious burns. If you find a bottle outdoors, play it safe and leave it alone! If it looks suspicions, notify police! Other bottles may have tubing coming out of them, like those shown below.

shake-and-bake-methlab

Massachusetts is one of the New England states that have yet to enact laws to protect renters and home buyers against meth labs. While most states warn home buyers and renters that a home has been used to make meth, through real estate disclosures, or prohibit individuals from living in a contaminated meth lab home until it’s been decontaminated, Massachusetts has no laws in place regarding meth labs.  As a result, renters and home buyers who live  in a former meth lab face may face serious health problems caused when they are exposed to a myriad of toxic chemicals that remain inside a structure long after someone has manufactured or smoked methamphetamine inside it. In addition, anyone buying a home in Massachusetts faces the additional risk of buying a home that is considered to be a hazardous waste site by every state and federal health agency.

Homes contaminated by meth lab chemicals, according to current research, remain contaminated until they have been properly decontaminated, a procedure that often costs the property owner tens of thousands of dollars, a cost they are not often able to recoup from the person who caused the contamination. Another issue surrounding meth labs homes is the problem created when meth cooks dump their leftover chemicals outdoors or down drains in the house (usually it’s at least one of the two). If a home has a septic system and/or is supplied by well water, the dumping of meth lab chemicals can result in both contaminated soil as well as contaminated ground water, which can create a problem, not only for this home, but for the homes in the community surrounding it and the community members who reside there.

Public records reveal that this home was sold in April 2004 for $40,000. It was described as having been stripped to the studs. In June of 2004, however, it was resold for $105,000. It apparently was flipped and resold to a new buyer. As of 2012, the value of this home was close to $141,000. If the investigation proves this home is contaminated, all of the equity gained in this home may have flown out the window with the meth fumes. In fact, it may end up being worthless, as decontaminating a former meth lab home may entail a cost that exceeds its value, particularly if the soil and well water are also contaminated. The cost of decontaminating the home, even if this home was rented, ultimately lands in the hands of the property owner, even if they had nothing to do with the contamination.

According to the Lakeville PD press release, the incident remains under investigation.

Sources:

Authorities raid Lakeville meth lab, arrest 2 – “State police and agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency found “a one pot methamphetamine lab” when they raided a trailer at 28 Shore Ave., owned by John Costa of that address, according to court documents.”

2 arrested in alleged meth lab raid in Lakeville - “Assistant Plymouth County District Russell Eonas said, “It was described as an active, one-pot methamphetamine laboratory.”

Georgia Landlords Arrested After Finding Meth In Their Rental House

Georgia landlords, Michael and Channel Keeley, who told police they found 8 bags of methamphetamine hidden in a bathroom wall in a rental home were placed under arrest on Sunday. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, three people who were renting a home from the Keeleys were arrested on meth charges on October 2nd. After receiving an “all clear” from law enforcement, the Keeleys reported they went to the rental home at the end of October to prepare the house for new renters. While inspecting the property, they discovered holes in the bathroom wall, one of which had previously been filled by a medicine cabinet. They also found 8 bags of methamphetamine hidden inside the bathroom wall. By the end of the day, the Keeleys said police interrogated them, accused of lying about a break-in, and charged them with tampering with evidence.  The Keeleys were freed on $5,000 bonds on Tuesday, but have not been given a court date.

Updated on 11/2/12

Read the full story on the Atlanta Journal Constitution website.

Punta Gorda Florida: Police find a meth lab in vacant home before owner sells it

Florida: A vacant Punta Gorda home, scheduled to be sold on Friday, was the scene of a methlab bust on Thursday morning.

A call about a possible burglary in a vacant home located east of 37591 Washington Loop Road led to the discovery of a methlab, early on Thursday morning. When deputies arrived at the house, they noticed a woman sitting in the driver’s seat of a brown Cadillac vehicle that was parked behind the house. Suspecting that a fire had started inside the house and safety of individuals in the house were in danger, deputies entered the smoke-filled home and discovered two men standing in the kitchen by the stove. Deputies also noticed a hairdryer and what appeared to methamphetamine cooking in a bottle.

When narcotics detectives arrived, they discovered several other items that are associated with manufacturing meth: plastic tubing in a bathroom sink, battery casings, and glass baking dish containing residue. Additionally, they found four clear plastic bags containing methamphetamine.

Investigators also discovered the driver’s purse in a bedroom closet, along with several drugs and drug-related paraphernalia. Drugs discovered at the residence included Alprazolam, Oxycodone, Valium pills, and methamphetamine. Four packs of pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient needed to make methamphetamine, were also discovered inside the home, along with a digital scale, several syringes, and spoons containing drug residue. Hallucinogenic mushrooms were located inside the vehicle that was parked behind the house.

The Charlotte County Hazmat Unit also responded to the home to remove the chemicals and equipment that was discovered at the property.

Georgia: Child’s asthma flareup tied to meth labs buried under rental home

Georgia – Billy Jack Goodwin and his family had only been living in their rental home for two weeks, exactly the same amount of time that his daughter began experiencing more problems with her asthma. Goodwin recently discovered why – someone had dug out an area under the house to use as a hidden meth lab.

Police discovered six meth labs under the house that were so large they could only be removed after they cut large holes in the floor inside the house.

According to MyFox Atlanta, “After two days of cleanup, the Goodwin family was allowed back inside. They said they have a hard time believing something so dangerous was right underneath their floorboards.”

The home had recently been purchased, after being vacant for a long period of time.

Man Finds Suspected Meth Labs Under Rental Home: MyFoxATLANTA.com

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.

TN meth cook set up meth labs in some very nice neighborhoods (video)

Thinking about renting or buying a home in Tennessee? Don’t judge a house by its cover! Meth can be made anywhere, including some very nice homes that are located in some very expensive neighborhoods. Before you buy or rent, have the home tested for meth,  even if the seller or landlord gives you no indication that the home is a former meth lab!

 

Are dark stains on window frames and illness signs of a former meth lab ?

“We moved into a rental home 7 weeks ago and it had been renovated. It began smelling like stale smoke once the new paint smell wore off and we asked the property manager if the previous tenants had smoked. He admitted yes. He said they trashed the place and left and that the property was in the process of being renovated when he took it over. We have shown him stains that cover every window frame in the house (one of the few things that wasn’t renovated) and he admits they resemble iodine stains and says he has no idea what they are. They are dark brown/yellowish, sticky and almost have a pattern to them. I found a picture of meth stains online and these stains look a lot like the picture. Would meth stains cover window frames and look like this? Any ideas? I have had severe vertigo since moving in plus terrible headaches and my toddler and infant have started having all kinds of sinus troubles.”

Jacksonville Florida: Meth lab explodes in Park Place apartment building

Jacksonville, Florida:  On Tuesday night, nearly two dozen residents had to leave their Park Place Apartment homes in Jacksonville, after a meth lab exploded on the second floor in an back apartment located at the  7541 S. Habersham Circle complex. Luckily, no one was injured by the blast, although the whereabouts of the couple who lived in the apartment and their health condition is still unknown.

At approximately 7:15 p.m., residents called 911 to report an explosion that shattered several windows in the building and sent shards of glass flying out on to parking lot at the complex. Unsure of what caused the blast and fearing a second explosion, Jacksonville police and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department hazardous materials team decided to proceed cautiously with their investigation. When they entered the building at approximately 10 p.m. , they determined that a meth lab explosion had caused the blast.

The massive explosion has completely destroyed the apartment where a  man in his 20s, a pregnant woman, and two large dogs had previously been living, according to Kevin Pughakoff, a resident of the building. Pughakoff  is one of many residents who were banned from returning to their Park Place apartments by officials who feel the building now poses a public health and safety risk.  While some residents have found shelter in the homes of family and friends, at least three families are being sheltered by The Red Cross. Officials concerned about the building’s structural integrity and the contamination caused by the meth lab chemicals blast don’t yet know when the displaced residents will be allowed to return to their homes.

Source:

Treen, Dana. “Jacksonville Meth Lab Explosion: Nobody Hurt, but No Arrests Yet.” Jacksonville. Com. The Florida Times Union, 17 Aug. 2011. Web. 17 Aug. 2011.

Augustine, Matt. “Meth Lab Explodes, Rocks Apartment Complex | www.wokv.com.” WOKV.Com. WOKV, 15 Aug. 2011. Web. 17 Aug. 2011.

 

 

 

Will the government get the 90,000 foreclosed homes they own tested for meth ?

Should the government have the 90,000 foreclosed homes that it owns tested for meth if it rents or sells them? Considering the fact that close to 2.5 million homes in the U.S. are thought to be contaminated by toxic meth lab chemicals and exposure to those chemicals is a public health threat, the answer to that question is crystal clear to me.  They should absolutely test these homes to make sure they are not contaminated with meth lab chemicals.

Vacant homes, whether they’re “for sale” or they’re just sitting idle, are becoming increasingly popular with meth cooks, leaving the government with a significant problem.  Using a vacant home to make meth provides meth cooks with several advantages. They don’t contaminate their own home. They avoid arousing the suspicions of the people in their own neighborhood. They don’t expose their children to their illegal activities, thereby avoiding additional charges of child endangerment should they get caught. They also avoid blowing up their own house, if their meth lab explodes.

The government, according to ABC News, is now at a loss about what to do with the tens of thousands of homes they have foreclosed on. One option would be to sell them. Another option would be to rent them. Still another option would be to demolish them. My advice would be to get them tested for meth chemicals, like they test for lead, and then sell the ones that test “clean”.  For the homes that prove to be contaminated, they’ll need to weigh the cost of having them decontaminated over the cost of having the home demolished. If they opt to rent the properties,  they should figure in the recurring costs of having the home tested for meth every time a renter moves out. Additionally, they should consider how much it’s going to cost them if a renter makes meth in the home they rent from them.

Personally, I’d opt not to rent out my property, considering that current laws make the property owner responsible for paying the cost of having their property decontaminated, rather than making the person who contaminated it responsible to pay those costs.  Most meth cooks don’t have the money to pay the tens of thousands of dollars that it takes to decontaminated a former meth lab home. Let’s face it. You can’t get blood from a stone – even if you’re the government. My advice to the government is to do the responsible thing with your property:  test, decontaminate or demolish – if need be, disclose, and sell!

 

Evansville, Indiana: Dogs warn families about meth lab house explosion and fire

Evansville, Indiana:  A meth lab explosion, that caught two homes on fire and damaged two others at about 1 a.m. Sunday morning, came as a surprise to residents of Stinson Avenue. One of those neighbors, whose home at 1711 Stinson Ave caught on fire, told reporters that his dog’s barks woke he and his wife up,  shortly before their bed shook from an explosion next door at 1713 Stinson Ave. Another news report about the fire said that another neighbor woke up after their dog pulled their blanket off of them.

The air was thick with smoke on Stinson Avenue this morning, when more than 7 fire trucks arrived to battle the fires that would take them 3 1/2 hours to get under control. By 4:30, firefighters declared two homes as a total loss and two other homes were described as slightly damaged.

An investigation of the cause of the fire turned up  a small blue bag, a bottle of Liquid Fire, coffee filters, and a tank that was described as an air respirator type – items associated with a  meth lab.

No injuries were reported, although no one knows the condition of the residents of 1713 Stinson Avenue, who were reportedly renting the home and whose whereabouts are now unknown. Firefighters did not find any bodies inside the house.

Sources:

“Suspected meth-related house fire spreads to adjacent West Side home | Update“, Evansville Courier and Press, 7/3/11

“Three Evansville Homes Catch Fire”, Tristate Homepage.com

“Two Evansville Homes Destroyed After Double Explosion”, WFIE. Com