VERO BEACH, Fla. — Three people were taken into custody at a methamphetamine lab Tuesday as the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office continues its efforts against the spread of the illegal drug.
“It’s a steady problem for the county,” Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Eric Flowers said. “It’s not growing or shrinking, but we’re focused on it because it’s the most dangerous problem we have right now.”
The dismantled lab in the 400 block of Seventh Place, Vero Beach, was the second one investigators tackled this year in Indian River County. Sheriff’s personnel, working with municipal and federal authorities through the Multi-Agency Crime Enforcement unit, took down three in 2013.
Investigators went to the home — owned by a woman who was convicted less than a year ago of manufacturing methamphetamine — about 7 p.m. Tuesday with a search warrant based on evidence of drug activity there. They knocked, but no one answered, the affidavits state.
After several knocks, the team forced its way in through the front door and found two men in the kitchen, along with supplies for cooking meth, investigators said.
Those supplies, which include household cleaning chemicals, acids and medications, can make for a highly combustible combination. When a lab is found, a specialized team from the Drug Enforcement Administration enters to carefully collect the evidence, officials said.
The public can help in the ongoing battle by keeping an eye out in their neighborhoods or the checkout counter, Flowers said.
“We encourage people to call us if they notice unusual activity or traffic near their homes,” he said. “Businesses can help us if they observe someone purchasing odd amounts of chemicals.”
Jerry Shelley, 32, Mark Bohannon, 39, and Stefani Buzzell, 35, were taken into custody as part of Tuesday’s bust and charged with manufacturing methamphetamine. Buzzell was charged in May with the same crime. She plead no contest and spent six months at the Indian River County Jail.
Authorities also discovered a meth lab in the 1400 block of 39th Avenue in mid-February and made one arrest.
Meth-making doesn’t always happen in the confines of a home.
In November, deputies discovered a backpack containing a portable cooking device for meth outside Indian River County Charter High School.