Five meth labs busted in Ashtabula County homes

24 people wanted on warrants

ASHTABULA, Ohio - Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies conducted a massive meth lab bust in the pre-dawn hours Wednesday.

67 people were indicted in July, the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department said.

43 of them were arrested Wednesday. Seven additional people were arrested during the raids on outstanding warrants.

More than 120 law enforcement officials assisted in the busts.

Police said five homes in various neighborhoods throughout Ashtabula County were operating meth labs. One of the labs was found in a closet.

Labs were busted in Ashtabula, Andover, Orwell, Saybrook and Conneaut.

Police say meth lab is a phrase used loosely, because making meth has gotten easier with some plastic pop bottles and various store bought chemicals which can make for an explosive situation.

But the main ingredient is Pseudoephedrine. Pharmacies require people to use their driver's license to buy the over the counter drug and track people buying a lot of it in a data base which is monitored by police.

That information helped launch this ninth month investigation that culminated with Wednesday's raids.

Ashtabula County prosecutor Tom Sartini said he will urge judges to give meth makers and dealers stiffer prison sentences.

One law enforcement official said some drug dealers are even trading heroin for pseudoephedrine.

Warrants were also issued in Lake County. "I think it's a good thing police are doing their jobs and finally getting rid of some of this," Dan Gelhausen of Madison Township said. "They're going to be watching now for the police and that and I think it's cleaned up.  I just hope they get the rest."

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