The Fight Against Meth Relocates

By: Stephen McLamb
By: Stephen McLamb

In the old days it used to be quite common for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to stumble upon a moonshine still or a patch of marijuana deep in the Tennessee woods.
That's still the case in some places.
But as Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb explains, there's a new danger popping up and it's much more risky to you.
The danger is meth.
Cookers are now moving their labs out into the woods, far from the telltale signs of a lab that get them in trouble.
The TWRA says they've spotted labs in 40% of the 28 counties they patrol and they're now getting training on spotting labs and dealing with them.
Hunters are sighting in their guns getting ready for hunting season.
A meth lab is not what they're expecting to see in the woods this season but they might.
Charles Fletcher, a local hunter says, "Well, it surprises me a little bit that people would take stuff like that out into the woods to even do it. I mean, it's just kind of unbelievable to me."
Wildlife officers say finding meth labs at hunting camps and fields is not common but more prevalent that it used to be.
Brian Ripley, the TWRA District Supervisor says, "Folks are having to move further and further away from civilization, if you will, to do that because of a lot more people are educated on what meth labs smell like."
A lab was recently found at a hunting camp in Campbell County and wildlife officials say officers are now getting recognition training of meth labs.
Ripley goes on to say, "Over the last several years we've had to train our law enforcement personnel to be more aware."
Ripley says two officers in his region have gotten extensive training in the last year to deal with the growing issue.
"Clandestine lab school that was funded through the hiata program to basically teach people how to dismantle illegal labs."
For many of these hunters, the thought of finding a meth lab where they hunt is disturbing.
Fletcher says, "Seems like it would run all the wildlife out of the area because of the aroma."
But Ripley says it's not just the woods they have to worry about as wildlife officers.
"Some of the biggest labs they've even seized were on houseboats so it's not that uncommon."
Ripley says look for things that look out of place, like camping fuel.
Also, the smell of ammonia or cat urine is a sign of a meth lab.
Ripley says the good news is, new laws to limiting the access of over the counter ingredients to make meth is curbing the drugs manufacture.


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