St. Johns, Putnam Counties Battling Meth Lab Production
St. Johns County, situated in northeast Florida, has population of just over 190,000. Home to St. Augustine, law enforcement report that 16 meth labs were busted in 2015, and 3 so far this year. In adjacent Putnam County, with less than 75,000 residents, there have been 5 meth lab busts in 2016 alone.
St. Johns County
Three weeks ago, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office busted and dismantled a meth-producing operation in St. Augustine. Four people were arrested and charged with possession of meth. A woman involved, Angela Price, 47, was also charged with manufacturing the drug. One more person is still being sought in connection to the operation.
According to the sheriff’s office, the narcotics unit was investigating the people involved for some time, and undercover purchases of meth by investigators assisted in the bust. Dozens of bottle and other paraphernalia were recovered and processed. This was considered to be a relatively large lab.
The home where the meth lab was located is only a few blocks from an elementary school.
In Putnam County, three people were recently arrested after an investigation into a fire which broke out at a mobile home in the Bostwick area in October of last year. A woman, her daughter, and another man, who was injured in the fire, have been taken into custody.
The Sheriff’s Office reported that Jason May, 38, told first responders that he was making meth when the explosion occurred.
Putnam County asked the state to assist with the investigation. It was found that Lynn Clouse and Diana Clouse, 50, were manufacturing meth in the home and were thus responsible for the explosion. They were charged with 1st degree arson in addition to meth manufacturing.
Also, in May, 2015, 23 persons were arrested in the county for involvement in a meth drug ring of epic proportions.
Why the Sudden Increase?
There are probably multiple reasons.
One may be that law enforcement has been busy with the ever-growing heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic that is killing Floridians by overdose every single day. It’s such a huge problem, that in recent years focus on cocaine and meth has dwindled.
Also, a meth lab is relatively simple to construct and ingredients are cheap. It’s especially common in rural areas, because it’s harder to detect
Also blamed is the highly-rated and popular AMC television show, Breaking Bad. While the show didn’t seek to glamorize meth production, it does reveal ways it can be done, and a lot of the science used is sound.
True, it speaks of a “warts-and-all” authenticity, but the popularity of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman reveals little disdain (and some empathy) for the show’s main characters, despite their unsavory and illegal exploits. That said, anyone who thinks making meth is a good idea after watching this show clearly missed the point.
Effects of Methamphetamine
Side effects of meth use may include appetite loss, increased heart rate/blood pressure, sleep disturbances, nausea, erratic/violent behavior, hallucinations, irritability, panic, psychosis, seizures, and death by overdose.
Lost-term meth use can result in permanent damage to blood vessels of heart and brain, high blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes, liver, kidney and lung damage, severe tooth decay, disorientation, and brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A. Psychology