Meth on the rise in Richmond County | 2 busts a month

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Friday, April 25th, 2014

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- Narcotics officers say people are making meth in their cars, in hotel rooms, and maybe even in your neighborhood.

Those who cook the chemicals put everyone around them in danger. Those who use risk losing everything.

"Right there, right there is where I gave my life to the Lord. Right below that table," said former meth user Stuart Waller.

Waller said God has lifted him above his need to get high. For 10 years, meth stole his life, and back then not using was not an option.

"Staying up without eating, and then after you don't eat you hallucinate, and after you start hallucinating you'll do things you normally wouldn't do," Waller said.

Waller has a wife and two kids and meth is something that affects many families.

"It's got a draw on you so strong," said Waller.

Meth is on the rise in Richmond County. Investigators say they are seeing more meth labs and ice, which is made by Mexican cartels, shipped to Atlanta and making its way here to Augusta.

"When I first started working narcotics you very rarely got a meth lab," Lt. Greg Meagher said.

Families live along Heckle Street and small children actually live right next door to a house which was busted for meth a couple of weeks ago. Richmond County narcotics say they bust about two meth labs a month but there's so much out there that they could be doing more.

The meth bust on Heckle Street wasn't the only one this month. Two were arrested at an Augusta hotel, which deputies said is the number one place people are making meth.

"It's so easy, and so portable that it's hard to stay on stuff like that," Lt. Meagher said.

According to the DEA, there were 2,187 meth drug seizures nationwide in 2010. In 2011, that number spiked to 2,481 and 2012 it rose to 3,898.

"It's everybody. Race, color, creed, sex, national origin. It doesn't matter we're finding everybody in it," Lt. Meagher said.

At Berean Baptist Church, Waller spends his Friday getting ready to counsel other addicts, and try to save them like he was saved all those years ago.

"I can't reach all, but if we can just reach one its worth every bit of it," Waller said.

If you are addicted to meth, Berean Baptist Church has counseling every Friday at 7 p.m. and anyone is welcome.

Officers say if you smell a strange chemical odor coming from your neighbors home or even your kid's bedroom call them right away, because meth is extremely flammable.

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