Sarah Stevens reacted to Elkin’s first known one-pot meth arrest by saying meth is a “tragedy” and an “epidemic in our society.”
“It will permeate many areas of our life in the future. We can only begin to estimate the impact,” she said.
Last week, and in a joint effort with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Elkin Police Department charged Jeffery Dewayne Cheek, 35, with manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of precursors.
Cheek was arrested at 339 Bridge St., where police say he operated a meth lab.
Neighbors on the street were stunned at the news.
“Where else can this happen at?” asked Jane Smith of Elkin. “I guess you never know what your neighbors are doing, but when one puts you in danger, that’s a problem.”
According to residents at 339 Bridge St. children were living directly above the location that was used for allegedly producing meth.
“We have to do something to protect the children,” said a resident at 339 Bridge St.
“Children are afflicted just by being in the house where it is cooked or used,” said Stevens. “The walls of homes where arrest have been made still show residue after treatment.”
House Bill 29 co-authored by Stevens would stiffen the penalties for people producing meth, especially near children.
Stevens said the National Clandestine Labs website shows homes where there have been meth raids and residue remains. It lists some in Surry County.
“These are only the known labs. How many are unknown?” said Stevens.
According to Stevens, meth operations are not limited to inside the walls of rural communities.
“There also has been a problem that meth labs have been discovered in hotel rooms. There is a requirement that the facility needs to be cleaned but no required followup or allowed levels of contamination.,” she said.
Busts of meth labs in North Carolina reached a new high in 2012. State Bureau of Investigation agents responded to 460 meth labs in 2012, compared to 344 meth labs in 2011 and 235 labs in 2010. Agents have busted more than 70 labs statewide so far in 2013.
When questioned about resources dedicated to Surry, a spokesperson for Attorney General Roy Cooper said added funding to hire additional agents may be necessary to combat the crisis.
Approximately 73 percent of the meth labs busted in North Carolina last year used the “one pot” method, which uses a small amount of pseudoephedrine to cook meth in a plastic soda bottle.
Surry County recorded a 400% increase in meth arrests for 2012, SBI records show.
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