A closer look at meth sites

Special agents with the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice dismantle a methamphetamine laboratory in rural Lincoln County. (Courtesy: WI Dept. of Justice)

Police say in two methamphetamine investigations this week, they found evidence of the "one-pot" method of cooking the drug.

FOX 11 took a closer look at what police say is a significant and growing problem.

When a pound of meth is produced, another five to six pounds of hazardous waste is generated. That waste is shown in pictures from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

But lately, police say meth users are creating the drug using the smaller, one-pot method. It only creates one gram of meth at a time.

"We have a lot of people working on it," said Pete Thelen.

Thelen is a special agent for the state Department of Justice. He is based in Appleton and works with local police departments to investigate meth labs.

"They use, most likely, a Gatorade bottle because of the wider mouth on the top," said Thelen. "It's easier to get the chemicals inside of it. And if you were to come across something that was used for this, you might see sludge in the bottom of it."

Thelen says about 75 percent of meth labs he's uncovered in the past two years use the one-pot method.

"I think the most we've ever found at one location was 30 discarded one-pots," he said. "So what they do to avoid detection is throw it out in the ditch or out in the garbage."

That's when anyone can find the evidence. Thelen says sometimes the meth making process isn't complete so someone could start a fire if they touch the materials.

"If you see something that doesn't like a soda bottle should be or a Gatorade bottle should be, call your local police department and they can come and assess it," he said.

Thelen adds the one-pot process is quick. It takes about 21 minutes to cook and extract the meth, then users throw their materials away and start again.