DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Dorchester County narcotics investigators spent the day collecting evidence at a suspected meth lab near Knightsville. Sheriff's deputies and the Old Fort Fire Department went out just after 5 a.m., following a small fire at an abandoned home on Embassy Drive just off Orangeburg Road.
Deputies say their investigation started with a fire at a vacant home, followed by a tip that a man who sought treatment at the hospital for severe burns may have been making meth.
"The chemicals they found were used in making meth, and from the fire, and the pot that was there they could tell it was used in making meth," Sheriff LC Knight said.
Sheriff Knight says meth labs are a growing concern. Drug agents busted 12 so far this year within the Town of Summerville and in Dorchester County.
"They can cook it out of the trunk of their cars, highly mobile. It's not sitting in a house, where we get information. They're moving around all the time with it, so it's getting harder and harder for us to catch them without some information," Sheriff Knight said.
When investigating a suspected site, narcotics team members get dressed from head to toe in hazmat suits. They say the chemicals when mixed can cause explosions, fire, breathing disorders, and potentially be deadly.
Sheriff Knight says not all meth labs end up with an arrest, but says deputies will charge the burned man, for the meth lab near Knightsville.
"He has been transferred to the burn center in Augusta Georgia, apparently will be in the hospital for a while. Once he gets out of the hospital we plan to put a charge on him for manufacturing of meth," Sheriff Knight said.
The sheriff's office is not releasing the man's name at this time.
There are some things to look for if you suspect someone is cooking meth in a building or home in your area including: an unusual antiseptic type odor, increased traffic to that home, and trash, like bottles used for medicines and chemicals, that's been left behind