Discarded meth labs litter Indiana highway

(NBC) - There are some concerns that discarded meth labs may be lurking amidst the roadside debris on some Indiana highways.

"We don't want to overstate and over blow this, but at the same time, I think to be real honest about it, it's not completely unlikely or out of the question that you could encounter this situation in this county," said Investigator Bill Wargo with the Elkhart County Prosecutor's office.

Last year, no county in Indiana had more meth lab discoveries than Elkhart County.

The total of 109 includes any so called "trash labs" found that year.

"You know they're no longer just going to throw their stuff in a trash bag, likely set it out to the curb, because that trash man might be aware of what's going on, or the neighbors might be aware, so they try to hide it unfortunately, a lot of times, it ends up in state and county parks, or just along a farm field in the road out in a rural area," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith.

Smith says there is no need to panic if someone finds a plastic bottle littering the side of the road, but he does encourage everyone to pay close attention to any other items nearby.

"And typically we want to see maybe a couple other things to go with that," said Trent.

"There might be some blister packs, you know leftover from the pseudo ephedrine that they use for the manufacture, there might be some remnants of batteries, there might be some remnants of coffee filters," Trent said.

Wargo warns service club members and others who volunteer to clean up road side trash to wear protective gloves, a mask and goggles.

"If it's been there all winter I'd say it's probably not going to be a problem, but I guess if you know for sure that it's been there all winter, the only one who knows for sure if it's been there all winter is the guy who threw it out there," said Wargo.

"Chances are, it's probably going to be inert.  But you know we don't want to take that chance with the public" said Smith.

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