The Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit (ADDU) developed a Clandestine Lab Enforcement Team (CLET) in 1998 in an effort to respond to the new threat of Methamphetamine and its manufacture in the Albany, Georgia area.
Previously, the illicit drug of choice has been Cocaine, Crack and Marijuana, which are smuggled into the area. The trend now is moving more and more toward the manufacturing of illicit drugs, such as Meth, GHB, and Ecstasy through Clandestine Drug Laboratories.
Most of the people that are manufacturing the Meth have no formal education in the use, storage and/or mixing of chemicals or their chemistry, thus creating very dangerous situations.
A Clandestine Lab (Clan Lab) is best described as “any” location, which has the chemicals and necessary cookware to make an illicit drug such as Meth.
A Clandestine Lab varies from an extremely elaborate or a very simple setup. The location of the Lab can be a clean, well organized or dirty, nasty, messy and disorganized site. Clandestine Labs have been found in every type of neighborhood in and around Albany. They have been in well to do houses, as well as, poor residential neighborhoods, businesses, hotel rooms, wooded areas or fields, abandoned structures, broken down vehicles, and/or vehicles that are being driving around Albany. We have dismantled Meth Labs where “pre-school kids” were present during the processing and mixing of chemicals and while the finished product (Meth) was being used.
The CLET Team is made of 4 Agents/Officers from the Drug Unit. The Team members investigate reports of suspected Clandestine Labs and follow up on leads of chemical precursor purchases as well as the thief or purchase of Anhydrous Ammonia, which is being used in the illicit manufacturing of controlled substances.
The ADDU CLET Team seized it’s first Clandestine Meth Lab in October of 2001 and reached a peak of working an average of 1 Clandestine Meth Lab every week, in the Metro Albany Area by early March of 2003. Since that time the number of Clandestine Meth Labs has dropped tremendously and continues to drop as Meth Cookers continue to be caught and/or relocate to surrounding areas.
The ADDU CLET Team has joined forces with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Mid-State Drug Task Force (Crisp County, Georgia) and the Georgia State Patrol in an effort to combat the spread the Clandestine Labs back and forth from neighboring counties.
The Team also conducts numerous In-Service training classes for law enforcement throughout the state, as well as a 1st Responders (Fire, Police, & EMS) 4 & 8 Hour P.O.S.T. Recognized Courses, Insurance Claims Investigators, Civic Leaders, Community Businesses and providing information to stores, which sell the over-the-counter items needed to make Meth.
The ADDU CLET Team works closely with and appreciates the tremendous support of the Albany Fire Department and their Hazardous Material Team and Dougherty County Emergency Medical Service during the dismantling of Clandestine Meth Labs