A horrible smell. Explosive Mountain Dew bottles. Increased thefts.
It’s all part of cleaning up after meth for the Cass County Drug Task Force.
Members of the task force have busted 10 meth labs in Logansport and around Cass County so far this year, according to task force member Sgt. Pat Zeider of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.
Many of those discoveries have stemmed from citizen tips, Zeider said, where passersby sometimes noticed the unique smell generated by the process of manufacturing meth.
“Once you smell it, you’ll never forget it,” Zeider said.
And it doesn’t just stink. The gas emanating from a meth lab — often as simple as a used Mountain Dew or Gatorade bottle with ingredients in it — is toxic HCL gas.
“It’ll actually eat your lungs. It’s acid,” Zeider explained.
The bottles can also explode — another reason Zeider and other members of law enforcement advise people not to touch any suspected meth labs.
The task force investigated approximately 35 meth labs in 2013, Zeider estimated. That’s up just slightly from previous years, he said, but the number of meth busts has remained about the same in the three years he’s served on the task force.
Formed in 1997, the task force specifically targets illegal drug activity, which Zeider noted is often followed by increased thefts. Law enforcement in Cass County reported a total of 33 meth labs discovered in 2010. Back in 2001, officers had found just five.
Some meth users the task force arrests run, but others have a different reaction, Zeider said. “There’ve been some that are like, ‘I’ve got a problem, I started it, I can’t shake it, I don’t know what to do.
“It’s such an addictive drug that you try it once and you’re hooked,” Zeider said.