Authorities in the Lowcountry continue to battle meth operations

CHARLESTON, SC – 50-year-old Roger Warren is under arrest and charged with manufacturing meth and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Deputies arrested him during a meth bust on Midland Park Road Wednesday morning.

This is the seventh meth lab busted in Charleston County this year. Deputies say they usually average over a dozen.

Warren Roger Deron, 50
Warren Roger Deron, 50

Charleston County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant John Nice says, “A lot more prevalent than I wish they were, we usually deal with anywhere from five to up to fifteen a year.”

Wednesday’s lab in North Charleston was found thanks to a tip to the Sheriff’s Office, but deputies say it’s usually more difficult tracking these operations down, because the ingredients are pretty common.

Sgt. Nice says, “It can vary from iodine, peroxides, there’s always sulfuric acids, muriatic acids, rock salt, heat which is a solvent, you have Coleman fuel which is a big component used in a lot of them. You can buy these chemicals and these other items at any of the local stores, it’s just when you put them together in a certain order, at a certain time, under a certain heat, that’s when you have issues.”

He says another major ingredient is pseudoephedrine and while there are laws in South Carolina limiting how much of the drug is available, people who cook meth find a way around it.

Sgt. Nice says, “They tried to narrow it down by cutting the number of boxes you can get to two per month, but you can do what’s called ‘smurfing’, have several people buy two boxes per month, bring them back to the cook then he will have ten boxes to make his meth and go ahead and further his enterprise that way.”

He says the main way to catch these meth labs is through tips from the community, and there are some key clues to a meth operation, like a constant chemical smell in your neighborhood.

Sgt. Nice says, “Just be mindful of the smells, if people in the winter time are walking outside to smoke on their porches, they have fans running in the windows in weather is not conducive, those are key indicators.”

He says discolored containers with hoses sticking out of them can also be a clue for a meth lab. Deputies say it’s important for the community to keep an eye out because these labs are highly flammable and could put neighboring houses in danger if they explode.

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