Gulfport Police Say Meth Labs Can Be Anywhere

Could you be living next door to a dangerous meth lab? Gulfport Police say meth labs can spring up anywhere, at any time. And many times neighbors don't even realize they're there. This week police arrested 26-year-old Timothy Howard Broadus after receiving a tip he was operating a meth lab out of his home in College Park.

Some people living on Middlecoff Drive said they had little idea a home on their street, housed a meth lab.

Becky Dennis lives next door to where the lab was found.

"I think it goes on everywhere and we just don't want to see it."

Gulfport police say this is one of three meth labs discovered in July. Local and federal authorities have found meth labs in homes, hotel rooms, condos and more. The dangerous mix of chemicals used to make meth put unsuspecting neighbors in danger.

Gulfport police officer Sgt. Enochs heads up the Narcotics team. He says manufacturers "use lithium batteries. They pull the batteries apart and pull the lithium out. If a little speck of water hits the lithium, it blows up."

Police say Timothy Broadus had all the precursors to manufacture crystal meth at his home. One of those chemicals is anhydrous ammonia which could be deadly if inhaled.

"It has no liquid to it. So anything it touches, it draws the liquid out of," said Sgt. Enochs. "So if you inhale gasses, cloud of anhydrous ammonia, it will shrink your lung and you'll lose a lung like that in a second, one breath."

The good news is that none of that happed here on Middlecoff. Because someone in the area gave police a tip, police say a dangerous drug lab is now gone.

Neighbor Becky Dennis said, "It disturbs me but I think it's realistic to believe it goes on everywhere. Nobody is excluded from it."

"It could be in your back yard," said Sgt. Enochs. "We've arrested meth labs next door to people who had no idea. It could be anywhere."

Police say laws restricting the sale of acetaminophen has helped curb the number of meth labs in our area, but lately they've notice a slight increase they attribute to manufactures staying on the move.

"You can operate a meth lab out the trunk of a car," said Sgt. Enoch. "They actually pack them up in an ice chest and store all their items in an ice chest. They move from area to area. They go from one house to another. They are never at the same place because of the smell and the odor that it emits from the chemicals that are used."

Gulfport Police say because the chemicals used to make meth are so dangerous, special crews must come in to clean up a meth lab. Police say each clean up costs thousands of dollars.