Mobile meth lab trend grows in Lafourche Parish

THIBODAUX, LA (WVUE) - Cold medicine, ice packs, empty Gatorade bottles - it's all part of an unsettling new trend in methamphetamine labs.

"It's very portable," said Sgt. Adam Dufrene with the Lafourche Parish Drug Task Force. "Most of the ingredients you can get in a store, you can put it in my backpack, an ice chest, the actual manufacturing you can do in a car."

Dufrene says it's called a "one pot" lab. This new way of making meth has been popping up in the bayou area. It's easy to make, easy to move, and sometimes hard to spot.

Back in July, a former Golden Meadow officer and two others were arrested for making meth in a quiet neighborhood in Cut Off.

"Terrible," said neighbor Chad Cheramie, who lives nearby. "I would've never thought of it. We couldn't believe it."

But these small labs still pose a big danger – they're highly explosive.

"It's probably more dangerous because you have a lot of people doing it," said Dufrene. "Not a lot of education. And because of being on the increase and being popular - a younger crowd is getting their hands on it."

Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office started cracking down on meth labs several years ago. The number of busts are as follows:

- In 2011, 12 busts were recorded.

- In 2012, that number dropped to six.

- The department reported five busts last year, 2013.

- But this year, 2014, that number doubled. Ten meth lab busts have already been reported.

"Some part of the manufacturing process is being glamorized in certain shows and they're downplaying the dangers," said Dufrene, citing the popularity of shows like "Breaking Bad."

And to fight this growing problem, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office says they continue to reach out to schools and communities.

"The more we get it out there the more we find we can combat the problem with greater ease," said Dufrene.

The task force has been offering training to local EMS, fire departments and surrounding parish law enforcement. They say it's played a big part in finding and shutting down these labs.

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