Pubdate: Wed, 04 Jul 2001
Source: North County Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 North County Times
Author: Jo Moreland


Campers, hikers and others who enjoy San Diego County's mountains and 
wildlands need to watch out for methamphetamine laboratories and chemical 
dump sites, officials warned Tuesday.

Representatives of the county's Methamphetamine Strike Force, state and 
federal law enforcement officials, firefighters and County Supervisor 
Dianne Jacob urged anyone using the Cleveland National Forest and other 
wildlife areas to report any labs or dump sites they find.

There were 107 meth labs and dump sites found on national forest land 
throughout the U.S. in 1999, said Rob Hall, Methamphetamine Strike Force 
spokesman. He said that jumped 356 percent last year to 488 sites.

"Most of what we're seeing in Southern California is dump sites," Hall 
said. "We're talking caustic chemicals. We're talking chemicals that leak 
into the ground water."

A meth lab busted last October on Gem Lane in Ramona was linked to 35 dump 
sites along Black Canyon Road leading into the Cleveland National Forest, 
he said.

Several people were arrested in connection with that lab. Hall said seven 
children living at the home were taken into the Endangered Children Program.

"About 100 chickens, along with several goats and dogs, had to be destroyed 
because they had been exposed to hazardous chemicals," Hall said.

Signs of a meth dump site or lab include empty pill bottles, chemical 
containers, rubber tubing and possibly dead vegetation, officials said.

They said people who spot a potential lab or dump site should get away from 
it to avoid contamination and a possible confrontation with a meth cooker.

Notify the nearest park ranger or call the county's Methamphetamine Hotline 
at 1-877-NO 2 METH, authorities said.
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