And so, the same old story repeats itself - this time in North Utica, where earlier this week police discovered a makeshift meth lab after being called to help with a routine eviction.
Come to find out, there had been signs that something was out of whack here for quite some time. But nothing was reported.
That could have been dangerous, and it reinforces the need for neighbors to be vigilant in reporting odd occurrences and other telltale signs of a meth lab operation: Frequent traffic/short visits in and out of a house or apartment building, odd behaviors or situations like covered windows or unusual security, a frequent odor of chemicals; also, large amounts of trash that might include chemical containers, plastic bottles and tubing.
State police, Utica police and the Utica Fire Department spent most of the day Monday at Sunny Side Apartments on Herkimer Road, where they removed bottles of different liquids and chemicals from what they say was a methamphetamine lab in one of the apartments. Tim Julian, part owner in the building, said police initially were called to help evict a belligerent tenant. Utica police Deputy Chief Edward Noonan said chemicals found at the scene appeared to be consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine, and a meth lab was discovered after further investigation.
Noonan said Melissa Cook, 51, was charged with third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Residents later said they had seen a lot of foot traffic in and out of the apartment from late evening through sunrise. One resident said there was a strong odor when the apartment door opened.
“When (the resident) opened the door, I could smell paint thinner,” the resident said. “It would start around 10:30, 11 at night and go until sun up. One night, there were (lots of people) all over the place.”
Such warning signs mustn't go unreported. Meth production is more and more common because it’s easy to make. And it's dangerous. Aside from the effects on users — anxiety, psychotic and violent behavior, paranoia and brain damage — it’s a serious threat to innocent bystanders, especially as production makes its way into residential areas where there is a higher concentration of people. It can explode during the mixing process and the toxic chemicals used can be poisonous.
So be aware. And do not hesitate to call police.