ISHPEMING — Meth U.S. is on the rise with more than 24 million abusers, some starting at the young age of just 12 years old.
The meth battle rages on here in the U.P. Nighttime meth lab raids, daytime meth confiscations and more meth labs than ever being found here in the U.P.
“We are up to about 56 meth labs year to date, last year at the end of the year we had 53 meth labs, unfortunately, I do believe it is going to continue to rise,” said Lt./Det. Tim Sholander, Team Commander, UPSET.
So with meth lab arrests here in the U.P. more than doubling recently, the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement team and local police have their hands full, but they are seeing results.
“We’ve trained more police over the past several years, they know what to look for, they know how to identify the components and they are calling us more and we are responding to more labs. On top of that, there has been an increase in the amount of public that we have trained,” continued Scholander.
Ishpeming Police Chief says there are several factors in their captures of meth component purchasers, users and makers.
“Some have been tips, some have been luck and some just good investigations. I have an idea of who is making meth around the city and I keep track of these people and if we have an opportunity to make a case against them we will,” said Ishpeming Police Chief Dan Willey. UPSET and local police say that working together and sharing information has been key in all of the recent arrests. Another thing they agree on is if you see meth making components, do not try and remove them yourself as they are very dangerous. Something this officer learned first hand.
“I felt nauseous, I wanted to throw up, I remember everything being hazy , I couldn’t think straight, I wasn’t exactly sure where I was at the time, just completely confused,” said Officer Nicholas Diedrich, Ishpeming Police Dept.
What is unique here in the U.P. is that meth is not being used as an income source like other cities.
“What we found is that the people that are making it are using it, they are not making it to sell or make money. They are making it to use.” continued, Willey.
Scholander adds, “They manufacture it in a pop bottle and they can only produce in small amounts, sometimes only up to a gram or two grams of meth and that is just enough to get the person who cooks meth and the person who purchases the components high.”
In the U.P. 80% of the meth arrests are from Marquette County, with the rest coming from Delta and Menominee counties. If you think these meth labs don’t affect you, stay tuned to ABC 10 at 5:30 tomorrow as we will break down what these meth lab cleanups are costing you, the taxpayer.