Cash rewards offered in fight to stop Blount meth problem

Cash rewards offered in fight to stop Blount meth problem

Posted:
A billboard installed last week promotes the Cash for Cooks program. A billboard installed last week promotes the Cash for Cooks program.
Six one-pot meth labs were found inside a home on Gregory Road. Six one-pot meth labs were found inside a home on Gregory Road.
You can spot a one-pot meth lab by looking for a white, chalky residue inside an empty soda bottle, as well as a strong chemical odor. (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office) You can spot a one-pot meth lab by looking for a white, chalky residue inside an empty soda bottle, as well as a strong chemical odor. (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)

By LAURA HALM
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) – Meth labs are poisonous and explosive. They can be found in a home, a front yard, or even in the car next to you.

Within the last 48 hours investigators with the Drug Task Force in Blount County say they've discovered meth labs at two separate sites.

Hoping to sweep Blount County of meth, sheriff's deputies wants to remind the public you can earn cash if you turn in a meth cooker.

A neighborhood off Gregory Road seems to be relatively quiet, but things aren't always what they seem.

"It didn't take long for us to figure out it was a methamphetamine bust," said concerned resident Judy Matyscik.

In fact six one-pot meth labs were found inside a home on Gregory Road. Three people were arrested and the home is now quarantined.

"If it can happen here it can happen anywhere," added Matyscik.

That's exactly why the Blount County Sheriff's Office relies on you to be their eyes and ears with the relatively new Cash For Cooks program.

The way it works is simple. You call a tip line, leave the address and information about a possible meth lab, then investigators will be assigned the case.

"If we end up making an arrest, seizing a lab, and it occurs in Blount County then we'll contact the caller back and pay $100," said Capt. Ron Talbott, with the Blount County Sheriff's Office.

So far Cash For Cooks is working. While he didn't want to release specific numbers Capt. Talbott says they are receiving more tips and discovering more meth labs every week.

You might have noticed a billboard installed last week about the program.

"We hope to get the word out in our community about what the signs are of a meth lab," said Jessica Stith, with the Blount County Substance Abuse Action Team.

As of last March, meth lab busts by the sheriff's office are up 200 percent compared to the same time in 2012.

So why the increase? Officials point to a combination of better tracking by law enforcement and the rise in popularity of one-pot meth labs.

You can spot a one-pot meth lab by looking for a white, chalky residue inside an empty soda bottle, as well as a strong chemical odor.

The money for the Cash For Cooks program comes out of the Drug Task Force fund. If you have a tip, you can call (865) 977-7266.

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