— FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — As springtime blooms, individuals and groups are sponsoring cleanups to get rid of unwanted trash along roadways.
But law enforcement agencies and county officials are warning them to be careful as they collect these unwanted items.
Lauderdale County Engineer Ken Allamel said as crews begin cutting the sides of the county roads, they routinely find items used in methamphetamine labs.
"It happens so frequently now that our guys know what to look for, and when they find them, they immediately call the sheriff's department or the drug task force," Allamel said.
Marion County Commissioner Don Barnwell said that earlier this month, while using county inmates to pick up trash along Marion 106 between Hackleburg and Haleyville, they found more than 50 used meth labs.
"We use the cleanup crews to pick up the trash before the county crews come in and (mow) roadways, and I just couldn't believe people just throw these used up labs out where anyone can pick them up," Barnwell said.
"It's dangerous; you don't know what you're picking up or running over."
Hackleburg Police Chief Kenny Hallmark, a former member of the Marion County Drug Task Force, said the used labs found on roadsides are usually the one-pot or "shake-and-bake" labs. Those are made out of plastic soft drink bottles or water bottles.
"They put everything into the bottle, shake it and then let it work," Hallmark said. "After the cook is finished, they get the meth and throw everything away."
Lauderdale County Drug Task Force Director Tim Glover said officers have found used syringes, batteries, lye containers, lithium strips and other items used in the manufacturing process.
"Most of the stuff they need can be brought at a dollar store, so when they get through, they just wrap everything together in a plastic bag and throw it out the window," Glover said.