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Coverage Of SF Meth Lab Leads To Another Bust

February 8, 2013, 6:03 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Coverage Of SF Meth Lab Leads To Another Bust

Four people are in jail following the second meth bust in Sioux Falls this week.

This one happened in central Sioux Falls Thursday night near the intersection of 12th Street and Van Eps Avenue.

Sioux Falls Police were back in the neighborhood Friday afternoon after Scott Rothenbuehler says he found the remnants of Thursday night's meth bust in his garbage can. The bust happened just three doors down.

"When I left and came back today and there's extra garbage sacks in our garbage and they weren't even out kind of bags, so I called police," Rothenbuehler said.

Police were sifting through Rothenbuehler's trash late Friday. Rothenbuehler believes a person not arrested Thursday ditched the meth-making remains in his garbage.

"Bottles with straws coming out of them and some red bottle with plastic taped around it and all kinds of empty pop bottles with stuff in the bottom of them," Rothenbuehler said.

Police say bottles with tubes coming out of them is a tell-tale sign of the new way meth is being made. It's what led them to the house near 12th and Van Eps Thursday resulting in the arrest four people now facing drug charges.

Police were led to the latest lab by an employee at a nearby business who saw a pop bottle with a tube on the boulevard Wednesday. Police say the tipster didn't realize what he had seen until he saw video KELOLAND News shot of a meth bust near Augustana College that night.

"In this case this person recognized this wasn't just a normal pop bottle it wasn't normal trash. You don't just normally see a pop bottle with a tube coming out of the top of it," Sam Clemens with Sioux Falls Police said.

The employee called police Thursday. When they arrived they found other meth-making materials, like cut open lithium batteries, between the home and the business leading them to the suspects.

And a call Friday afternoon from Rothenbuehler has given police more evidence possibly leading to more arrests.

To get an idea of just how big a problem these mobile meth labs with the pop bottles have become in 2002 investigators broke up 22 meth home laboratories in the Sioux Falls area.

By 2007, the year after South Dakota's pseudoephedrine law went into effect, just five major meth labs were found.

But as the faster, more mobile method of making meth became popular, production also apparently increased. Last year, 30 mobile meth labs using pop bottles were discovered by law enforcement.

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