Mobile meth labs up 400 percent in Summit County

Detectives warn of dangerous, dicarded meth waste

AKRON, Ohio - The number of mobile meth labs has jumped 400 percent in Summit County since 2010, according to investigators with the Summit County Drug Task Force.

Inspector Bill Holland said mobile labs, also known as "one-pot" or "shake and bake," are popping up inside homes, cars and gym bags. Many more labs, still potentially explosive and poisonous, have been discovered inside dumpsters and along the side of roads.

"The one common factor is they're very, very dangerous," Holland said.

Holland said in 2010, investigators found more than 20 mobile meth labs in Summit County. Last year, that number soared to more than 90. This year appears to be even worse.

"This year, in the first quarter, there has been at least 50, so the number is increasing steadily," Holland said.

Holland pointed out that 28 percent of all Ohio meth labs are found in Summit County. He said the problem exists everywhere, but the reason the number is so high locally is the drug task force and Akron police aggressively go after meth labs.

On Monday, deputies found an active meth lab inside a mobile home on Judy Avenue in Coventry Township after receiving a domestic violence complaint.

Kristopher Lack, 33, Laura McCollum, 37, and Eric Jason Smith, 23 were arrested and charged with manufacturing of meth.

Lack's step-father, Jeff Neidenthal, told NewsChannel5 that Lack fell on hard times because both of his parents died and he started hanging out with the wrong crowd.

"Meth labs are a big problem. There's more around, and hopefully they will get caught," Neidenthal said.

Randy McColley, who lives in the mobile home park, was bothered that residents were potentially put at risk by a meth lab that could have exploded.

"What I see is they're putting chemicals inside their bodies and it's going to kill them nothing flat. Why would you want to poison yourself like that?" McColley said.

Methamphetamine is powerfully addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. The drug is made with a concoction of chemicals, acids and household products.

Last February, 17-month-old Patrick Lerch died from ingesting meth inside an Akron home on St. Leger Avenue, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner.

Tuesday, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced the toddler's mother, Heather Lerch, 20, was indicted on multiple charges, including murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering.

Ronald Legg, 22, has also been indicted for murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering. Two other men, Randy Legg, 19 and Allen Kostra, 24,  are charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangering.

All of the suspects also face multiple drug charges. They will be arraigned this Friday.

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