“You might get a handle on heroin a bit and then cocaine is a problem,” he said. “You think you get that problem taken care of and something else seems to take its place.”
Each of the Antrim County drug probes have involved one-pot meth labs, Bean said. The production method is inexpensive, easily concealable and produces a relatively small amount of the drug.
“It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate lab,” King said. “It can be used with a couple 20-ounce soda pop bottles with the right chemical components, and you can be making methamphetamine.”
Bean believes the issue is more widespread than Mancelona or Antrim County; it’s just a matter of finding the activity, he said.
Chris Hindbaugh, executive director of Addiction Treatment Services in Traverse City, said meth production is an increasingly common problem in rural counties where there’s room to produce the drug and avoid detection. The drug’s production and use typically is private, he said.
“If they’re able to sort of keep to themselves and nothing goes wrong, then it just goes on indefinitely. It’s a very isolating,” Hindbaugh said. “It’s not typically a social use.”
Most of the county’s arrests have come from tips. King said anyone who suspects meth production can anonymously alert law enforcement and drug teams.
Bean distributed a couple informational posters to Mancelona convenience stores to make retailers aware of products commonly purchased for meth production. He plans to spread more throughout the county.
The department recently completed training on how to recognize and handle the drug.
“It’s here. It’s a change in the drug scene and it’s something that we have to address not only in training but in the general public and awareness,” Bean said.
Authorities will send a strong message that there will be consequences for meth production, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence in Michigan, Rossiter said.
“The passage of time won’t lessen the consequences if it’s found out,” he said.