Meth lab found under Euharlee residence
by Jessica Loeding
Mar 16, 2012 | 4426 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New residents in Euharlee received a surprise Wednesday night when a possible methamphetamine lab was discovered under the home.

Euharlee police were contacted about 6 p.m. after the resident experienced heating and air problems. The resident, who had lived in the rental property for about a week, discovered ductwork was disconnected from the vents beneath the house, along with a pit dug into the ground in the crawl space.

Bartow Cartersville Drug Task Force Commander Capt. Mark Mayton said his agency was contacted about 6:30 p.m. to assist Euharlee police in assessing the situation.

"When [the resident] was under there, he found a very suspicious liquid -- we call it a biphasic liquid, or two-layer liquid," Mayton said. "In other words, there is a lighter layer and heavier layer. The heavier layer goes to the bottom, the lighter layer goes to the top."

He said the mixture, which resembles an oil-and-vinegar combination, sometimes is indicative of meth.

The resident also recovered another container that had a milky appearance, which Mayton said can be consistent with the "one-pot method" of making meth.

Known commonly as shake-and-bake methamphetamine, the one-pot method concocts the drug in a single container. It allows for smaller, more frequent operations at a more individual level.

Mayton said because of the signs of a meth production and the confined space of the operation, a team specializing in restricted areas was called in from Atlanta.

Once the necessary permits and safety precautions were in place, the team removed a portion of the living room floor and removed six one-pot labs from beneath the house.

The residence, which is believed to have been unoccupied since June, was bought at foreclosure two weeks ago. According to Mayton, the residents are staying with family, and the homeowner and county have been notified of the possible lab.

He said although the investigation is ongoing, any criminal charges may be difficult because of the lapse in the residence's occupancy.

EPD, the DTF, Bartow County Fire Department and EMS crews were on scene until about 5 a.m. Thursday. There were no reports of injuries.

According to an Associated Press report, methamphetamine lab seizures increased nationally in 2011, up about 8.3 percent from 2010. The increase is attributed to the drug's addictiveness and the growing popularity of the shake-and-bake method.

Missouri regained the top national spot for lab seizures in 2011 with 2,096, the AP confirmed through the survey that also found Tennessee was second with 1,687, followed by Indiana with 1,437, Kentucky with 1,188 and Oklahoma with 902. Georgia was not at the top of the list, with Illinois with 584, Iowa (382), Michigan (352), North Carolina (340) and South Carolina (265) rounding out the top 10.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this story.