Law Enforcement Agencies Tackle Meth Labs in Tactical Training


Pick marks, rotting teeth, and hollow cheeks, it’s easy to spot a person on meth but what about spotting a meth lab?  Jake Kelton has traveled to 32 states teaching law enforcement exactly what to look for.

“What we find is the meth labs are pretty much the same. We find the communities facing the meth labs are pretty much the same,” said Kelton, Merit instructor. 

All week, agencies from West Virginia and Ohio learned how to investigate, raid and process meth labs.

“These officers started from zero and in four days time, they know every meth lab out there now,” said Kelton. 

Law enforcement faces many challenges when responding to mobile meth labs where dangers are multiplied.

Chief Deputy Jeff McAtee, Harrison County Sheriff’s Department said, “You not only have to deal with the suspect inside the car and whether he is armed or not with a hand gun, a riffle, or anything like that.  You also have the danger of the chemical exposure, the meth lab there are flammables involved in that.”

Teams of eight put their knowledge to the test for practical drills like this tactical entry into a meth lab. Once officers control the meth lab it’s time to get suited up. 

“They need to know how well their equipment works, they need to know the downfalls of using their equipment, they need to know the chemicals and how dangerous they can be and they know that,” said Kelton. 

Officers then carefully neutralize the lab by using Amphomag.

Mike D’Amicantonio, product development assistant, Premier Magnesia, LLC said, “You put this in, it’s just a powder. It’ll change colors, it turns bright red for an acid and blue for a base. It just takes all the guess work out of it,”

37 officers are now prepared to tackle the challenges of eliminating meth. 

Kelton said, “Based on what they showed me they are ready to go and they’ll be safe and I tell you what. The public can’t have better people training then these people.” 

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