Man injured by meth discovery

"A South Whidbey man who accidentally inhaled gases from discarded drug manufacturing equipment Sunday wound up with a two-day headache and a cautionary tale to tell.Marty Hill, manager of the Clinton Les Schwab Tire Center, said he was doing a quick inspection of the business's property Sunday afternoon when he noticed a bag of garbage dumped in the middle of the Les Schwab parking lot. Hoping to find something in the bag that would identify the person who dumped it, he opened the bag to look inside. As he pulled open the plastic, a gas smelling of sulfur and other chemicals erupted from the bag into Hill's face. Though staggered by the gas, which he said caused an immediate headache, he searched through the bag and found several measuring cups, a tube, fuel filters, and other objects. He said the inventory looked suspicious, so he called the Island County Sheriff's Office. Deputy Dan Todd responded to the scene and told Hill that the materials he found were probably used in a small methamphetamine cooking operation. Narcotics detectives from the Sheriff's Office removed the materials from the Les Schwab parking lot later that day.Sheriff Mike Hawley said it is not unusual to come across drug production materials like this. He said methamphetamine production has been refined to the point that anyone with the right formula can make it in a kitchen. In the past, people who produced the drug would outfit entire labs to do the work.They have a recipe now you can cook in your microwave, Hawley said.Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant made from ingredients such as formaldehyde, lithium batteries, ether, over-the-counter cold pills, acetone, rubbing alcohol, toluene, and drain cleaner. All the ingredients are cancer causing, Hawley said. Once combined, they create a poisonous liquid and produce noxious gases.Other materials used to produce the drug include coffee filters, rock salt, propane tanks, mason jars, and lye.Hill, whose head and body were still in pain Monday because of his experience the day before, said he could not believe anyone would willingly use methamphetamines.I can't believe anyone would put this stuff in their body, he said. Hawley said the materials Hill found are so generic that it is unlikely his office will find the people who used them to make methamphetamines.Hawley said people who find suspicious garbage like the bag Hill found Sunday should call law enforcement to deal with it.To report suspected drug-making equipment, Hawley recommends calling 911 or a statewide narcotics hotline at 888.609.6384. He also said merchants who notice customers purchasing large amounts of cold medicine and lithium batteries should report these incidents. "

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