Mobile meth labs, suspected in Lake Worth car explosion, infrequent in North Texas

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 29 at 10:44 PM

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LAKE WORTH -- Investigators believe the explosion inside a car Wednesday night in Lake Worth may have been caused by a mobile meth lab.

News 8 has learned detectives found “indicators” of a meth lab inside the vehicle. They are waiting for test results.

In North Texas, federal drug enforcement officials told us they don’t see “shake and bake” meth often and that it’s not a trend at this moment. In Tarrant County, narcotics unit investigators said they see about 20 cases a year.

The numbers don’t come close to those in Oklahoma, where “shake and bake” meth is a problem in some areas.

“When these bottles pop, it can blow ether and other volatile liquids several feet,” said Mark Woodward from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. “We are seeing them [one-pot meth cases] statewide, but only sporadically. But in northeastern Oklahoma, in the Tulsa area, [police] just have been inundated with them. In some cases, working three or four a day up there.”

It's a problem that motivated the Tulsa Police Department to post a video on YouTube to show the dangers of mobile meth labs.

The recipe is cheap and easy. It calls for a bottle, a handful of cold pills, and other chemicals.

“[The cookers] are able to go to pharmacies and just get one or two boxes and go cook,” Woodward said. “It became more popular as pseudoephedrine became harder to get.”

According to Woodward, the amount of meth being made is smaller with this technique than the a traditional lab, but the dangers are the same and the burns even worse because the “cookers” have to keep their hands on the bottle at all times.

“We see more severe burns associated with these because often times, it's right there in their lap whether they are driving down the road or sitting on a couch,” Woodward said.

The five people who were burned in Wednesday's incident are still in the burn unit at Parkland in Dallas. Their names and conditions have not been released.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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