INDIANA (WHAS11) -- It's not a ranking to be proud of; more than 1,800 methamphetamine lab busts in a year makes the Hoosier state the meth capitol of the United States. One huge reason is the portable labs--called Shake and Bake labs.
“They do it in their homes. They do it [at] public parks. They'll mix it up into backpacks and they'll take it in and throw it on the side of the road and wait 72 hours for it to mature into the product they want. And then they will come back and get it,” Indiana State Police Sergeant Jerry Goodin said.
In Southern Indiana, police have been busy monitoring the meth.
“We had 135 labs in the five counties, that's Clark, Floyd, Harrison, Scott, and Washington counties. The year before that we had 125 labs,” Goodin said.
The numbers are up and police are facing a challenge from past offenders they arrested six or seven years ago.
“A lot of those people are now getting out of prison. While they were in prison they educated a lot more people on how to cook meth,” Goodin said.
So what can you do? Look for the signs of a nearby lab.
“If there's a strong chemical odor such as starting fluid or an ether smell,” Goodin said.
Meth cooks often use plastic bottles.
“If you come across them and you see them and it's got a cloudy liquid stay away from it,” Goodin said.
Sergeant Goodin said the news isn't all bad--the number of arrests indicates strong policing and constant help from the community. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“There are products that are coming on the market now that limit the ability for people who cook meth to manipulate the pseudoephedrine. There's one thing about meth--if you do not have pseudoephedrine you cannot make meth,” Goodin said.