'No-brainer' cleanup solution will help northern Wisconsin agents save time, money after busting meth labsSubmitted: 08/08/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

'No-brainer' cleanup solution will help northern Wisconsin agents save time, money after busting meth labs
WAUSAU - In a three year period, police busted and cleaned up at least one meth lab in three-quarters of Wisconsin's counties.

The state Department of Justice says the state's meth problem is centered here in northern and western Wisconsin.

Attorney General Brad Schimel says his department has cut down on trafficking of Mexican meth into Wisconsin. Instead, he says, more addicts are making their own meth at home, which means his agents have to clean up meth labs.

"When our teams go in to investigate and clean up these lab sites, they are in full hazmat gear because each pound of methamphetamine produced creates five to six pounds of hazardous waste," Schimel said Wednesday in Wausau.

In those hazmat suits, Schimel thinks his agents look something like creatures from outer space.

"I'm expecting him to ask us to take him to our leader," he said with a laugh.

Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Alan Hunsader knows the signs of a meth lab as soon as he sees them. His job is to clean it up.

"It has to be disposed of safely and according to federal law," Hunsader said.

Disposal often requires a lot of waiting, like waiting for a hazmat company from Chicago to get there.

But on Wednesday, Schimel announced a new meth chemical storage container in Wausau. It will improve cleanup speed and reduce costs.

"This container here will house this waste until such time as a [federal Drug Enforcement Agency] contractor can come and take custody of the waste," Hunsader said.

It's one of six containers the DOJ placed across the state with federal money.

"This solution is truly simple," Schimel said. "It's a no-brainer."

Right now, it costs teams an average of $3,000 to clean up meth labs. The DOJ estimates having local storage containers will drop that cost to just $300.

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