• Authorities fight meth problem in Volusia Co.


    VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Authorities in Volusia County are fighting to get ahead of the homemade drug, methamphetamine.

    A detective who works undercover described the toxic sludge of household chemicals used to make the drug.

    “The acids and stuff you got to deal with, what it could do the body; just inhaling some of the stuff is deadly,” said the detective.

    Volusia County deputies worked 77 meth labs in 2012 -- more than any central Florida agency. Only Lake County came close with 56.

    “The fact that there could be an explosion at any given time, that you could blow up a neighborhood by cooking this stuff is a huge concern,” said Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood.

    Chitwood’s officers found 29 various meth labs in Daytona Beach -- one even exploded in a hotel. They found meth labs cooking in the trunks of cars and in some cases cooks were making them inside backpacks.

    “Just stuff that’s in the chemicals that are in there, the precursors, are more than enough to do long-term damage, but nobody cares; that’s not what they’re interested in,” Chitwood said.

    Detectives said the high numbers could be due to a crackdown on prescription drugs and new, one-pot meth labs.

    Some believe meth cooks should face longer sentences. State Attorney R.J. Larizza said it can be difficult to punish them while sending addicts to rehab.

    “If they qualify. Drug court is, you don’t want to put folks who are distributing the drugs in the drug court. That’s like putting the fox in the hen house,” said Larizza.

    He admits they get breaks, but only the first time around.

    “You’re putting dangerous drugs on the street-- don’t do it. And if you do, you’re going to pay the consequences for it,” Larizza said.

    Police said they are cracking down on meth and will continue to in 2013.

    Anyone who gets caught making meth can be sentenced to anywhere from a few months in prison to, in some cases, more than 10 years in prison.

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