It's not unusual for Larry Marchbanks to spend some time on his front porch, but on Tuesday he said his sit-down wasn't a pleasant one.
"It's bad news," he said.
That's because undercover narcotics agents, firefighters and deputies with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office said they found a meth lab inside his neighbor's house on Windemere Drive.
"I've lived here six years, and those people have been nothing but nice to me. It's sad to me to see my neighbors have this kind of problem," he said.
And when an emergency call goes out, every second is crucial. First responders are quickly putting out fires or rushing to help a patient and may not realize potential dangers around them.
"By the time we're done with this, you all are going to realize you've probably been in a lab and didn't know it," one agent said. FOX Carolina is withholding his name because of his undercover duties.
So, firefighters and paramedics sat down at the Tigerville Fire Department and became students during a meth session, and their teachers were undercover agents.
"Sulphuric acid and salt can be used to make it," he said as he placed chemicals on a table.
Investigators said labs are becoming more mobile and they find them in cars or even suitcases. They call them shake and bake labs because meth can be made in soda bottles.
"I say about 45 minutes to an hour for a cook," he said.
And in time he said meth users begin to lose their teeth and will get sores on their skin.
"Look how much she's aged in that amount of time," the agent said as he pointed to a slide that showed a woman with rotten teeth.
Russell Ledford, fire chief with the Tigerville Fire Department, also attended the class. He said even though firefighters are called to assist in meth labs, often times when they get a fire call, they don't know how it started. So, they need the class to know what to look for. He said the class is helpful for paramedics too because they're usually helping with health calls and may not recognize these new meth labs either.
"Just to make themselves aware of it by recognizing those signs and back out of the situation," he said.
As many times as Marchbanks has taken a seat on his front porch, he never thought he would see what deputies call a meth bust across the street from his home. He said it's another sign that proves times are changing.
Investigators said they arrested two people in connection with the bust on Tuesday. Investigators said the bust is meth lab number 32 and it's only April.
Deputies with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office said it's becoming such a problem that they want to make sure they're doing what they can to crack down on meth. Now, three narcotics agents are solely devoted to meth labs and 19 other deputies who are trained in meth labs also help out on cases.
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