HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Illegal meth labs are quickly become a health risk for everyone.
On Monday, Harrison County deputies discovered a meth dump site near Espy Avenue. The potentially hazardous materials found there were across the street from a neighborhood where families live, and children play.
Jackson County was really the first area to crack down on meth labs. Harrison County got into the game last April, when Sheriff Melvin Brisolara established a new narcotics unit. Since then, 68 meth labs found in Harrison County have been busted.
What worries Sheriff Melvin Brisolara is that so far this year, six meth dump sites have been located. That means the community is suddenly at risk. So the sheriff issued this warning.
"Anybody involved in anything to do with meth, we will arrest them," he said.
Sheriff Brisolara knows methamphetamine has become the drug of choice for people looking to get a quick, inexpensive high. So, he has his staff trying to weed out meth users. Lieutenant Troy Peterson is with the newly formed narcotics division of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.
"This is a major problem in Harrison County," Peterson said. "As long as you have the ingredients in hand, you could have actual dope in an hour."
Some of those ingredients were laid out on a table in Peterson's office. They were an example of what he discovered Monday in a duffle bag dumped in a grassy area near Espy Avenue and Pineville Road.
"Whenever they make their dope, they're disposing of the chemicals anywhere they can," Peterson explained.
And that could pose a serious risk to the neighboring community. In this case, the meth dump site was down the street from a church, and across the street from a subdivision. If a child would have gotten to it before authorities, that person could have been in a lot of danger.
"Any kind of kids, obviously, if they come over in the area and get in contact with it, it's going to burn them, it's going to hurt them. If they ingest it or inhale it or anything, it's going to hurt their insides," said Peterson. "Our main concern is dealing with making sure the public is safe."
The company contracted to clean meth dump sites was at the Espy Avenue location on Monday, making sure any hazardous chemicals were removed from the area. According to Sheriff Brisolara, that company has cleaned more meth sites from Hattiesburg to the Gulf of Mexico than anywhere else in Mississippi. Why? Because the sheriff says, this is the area that's cracking down on meth usage.
"We want everybody to understand that we're attacking it head on," Brisolara said.