February 14, 2013

Utility workers find meth lab

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A black backpack lying in a ditchline caught the attention of water utility workers Monday, but they soon discovered it wasn't filled with notebooks, pencils or other school supplies.

Instead, the bag contained tubing, gloves, drain opener, an A & W root beer bottle, and other items used to make methamphetamine.

Realizing what they had run up on, the employees immediately contacted the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office, with Deputy James Sizemore and Detectives Brad Mitchell and Billy Madden arriving at the scene on Boggs Road, one-half mile west of London near Country Club Estates.

An HCL generator and the components were discovered and deputies neutralized them. Laurel Sheriff’s Deputy and Public Affairs Officer Gilbert Acciardo said the lab was not active at the time of the discovery, but overall appearances indicated that those possessing the materials “could have come back” to get it and used the chemicals to activate it.

This is the second discarded meth lab discovered in Laurel County in 2013. The first was discovered in a building off Pine Creek Road last week. However, the frequency of discarded and active meth labs has decreased dramatically over the past two years, according to law enforcement officials. In fact, the frequency of meth labs has decreased 400 percent since 2010 due to concentrated efforts of law enforcement officials from all local agencies and tips from citizens in the community.

Donta Evans with Wood Creek Water District said the discovery of the discarded meth lab is not unknown by his employees, although he stated this particular meth lab was found on the area which city utility employees maintain.

However, Evans said occasional meth labs and their components are discovered by water utility employees.

“We do occasionally find them because it damages our equipment when they put them in the sewer. It’s not very often, but we have a policy that when our employees find something like that, they call the authorities immediately,” Evans said.

Steven Baker, superintendent for London Utility Commission, was unavailable for comment at press time on Tuesday.