An Elkin resident was arrested for allegedly operating a meth lab in a Bridge Street apartment complex.
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.
“A search warrant was executed on the subject’s home at 339 N. Bridge St., Apt 5, where paraphernalia consistent with the manufacturing of methamphetamine was seized. Mr. Cheek was placed under a $25,000 secured bond and placed in the Surry County Jail,” said Chief Monroe Wagoner.
The lab was located in the basement apartment, underneath four apartments.
“You could smell the fumes,” said a tenant residing in the building. “It’s crazy. You have small children who live here. This guy was cooking in a basement, and a fire could’ve happened, let alone the health hazard.”
When pressed, property owner Chris Lane of Bridge Street Apartments indicated that he will take steps to evict Cheek immediately.
“I haven’t been to the apartment yet. I will follow paperwork next week to make sure that Cheek is evicted,” said Lane.
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.
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.
The menacing rise has gotten the attention of local lawmaker, State Rep. Sarah Stevens, who co-authored a bill that she hopes will stop the surge in meth labs in Surry County.
House Bill 29 would make it a felony for any convicted meth cook to possess products containing pseudoephedrine, found in some cold medicines and the key ingredient needed to make the highly addictive illegal drug methamphetamine.
“Criminals who make meth would face more time behind bars and be banned from having the drug’s main ingredient,” said Stevens.
“I also support and seek stiffer sentences for criminals who make meth around children, seniors or the disabled,” she said.
Statewide, 120 children were removed from homes where meth was being manufactured last year, up from 82 in 2011. So far this year, 14 children have been found living around meth labs. When a children are removed from a meth lab home, their clothing, toys and other belongings usually have to be destroyed because of the hazardous fumes given off during the cooking process.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez by calling 336-835-1513 or email at email@example.com.