Spike in meth lab busts have Tipton County residents on edge - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Spike in meth lab busts have Tipton County residents on edge

By Justin Hanson - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

COVINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - In the state of Tennessee, Tipton County was second only to Shelby County in the number of meth labs busted in 2008.  And, a recent spike in meth activity in Tipton County has police and residents on edge.

Nine people were arrested in Tipton County in just two weeks, all charged with either possession or promotion to manufacture methamphetamine. 

Tipton County Sheriff Pancho Chumley says if you cook it, they will come - and arrest you too!

"I want to warn them, they better start today as soon as they hear about this, they better start today doing something about their problem," Chumley said.

"You really don't know who your neighbors are," said Covington resident Bonnie Wills.

Last year there were only thirteen labs busted in all of Tipton County.  This year, there have been that many busts in the past two weeks, and residents fear it will only get worse.

"There people are becoming more brazen in what they do - they don't care if they get caught," Wills said.

Wills, who lives in the area where one of the labs was busted, says she no longer feels safe living there.

"Its sneaky. You don't know who's gonna pull up over there in the parking lot behind a tree and sell drugs," she added.

"The people in the meth world, they're not paying attention to what they're doing and to the people around them," Chumley said.

Officials say it costs anywhere from $6000 to $10,000 to clean up each meth lab, but the effects of meth don't stop there.

Chumley says drug use is a factor in 90 percent of county burglaries, adding that addicts will steal in order to feed their habit.  

"We're not gonna tolerate it," he said. "Tipton Countians are tired of having their properties burglarized. They're tired of having things stolen out of their yard.".

"More and more people are doing this and it needs to be stopped," Wills added.

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