Meth lab discovered inside Ben Hill transmission shop

FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - Ben Hill county drug agents say they made a big dent in a growing methamphetamine problem when they raided a meth lab Monday night.

They arrested a suspected meth cook at an auto transmission shop but  it's not the first time agents have seen this. Just a few months ago, they busted an even larger meth lab inside of a transmission shop across town.

Lately, meth has made a big comeback. In fact, drug agents are seeing more meth right now than cocaine. They say its because a number of meth cooks have gotten out of prison and many have returned to their old habits

Down this quiet dirt road, you'll find 'Shade Tree Mechanics' a transmission shop run out of a tobacco barn near this home.

It's not only a place where folks can go get their car fixed, but it's also a spot where they've been able to go buy methamphetamine as well.

"Most of the transmission shop was located downstairs and the cooks and the manufacturing was located upstairs in the tobacco barn," said Drug Unit Commander Hines Taylor.

Monday night agents raided the spot and found the components needed to make meth,  "Liquid fire, crushed up pseudo-ephedrine ammonia nitrate," said Taylor.

The ingredients were hidden among the highly potent chemicals used at a transmission shop. Some even hidden inside the vehicles being worked on.

"There was some transmission work being down there, but there was a lot of drug activity being done there too," Taylor said.

They arrested the suspected meth cook, who was on federal probation for the same thing, but they aren't releasing his name yet. However there's a twist. The cook got everything he needed to run a transmission shop from Stacey White, also a meth cook, who agents just arrested in February.

"They were both old time cooks. They have served time in prison. They both got out so I think it is connected more between their friendship."

White was busted at his transmission shop across town on Lobingier Avenue, a busy road with houses near by.

Inside his shop, agents found a much more advanced lab. But the combination of a meth lab and transmission shop couldn't be more dangerous.

A few houses down from White's transmission shop, a meth lab exploded several years ago, because someone lit a cigarette near the highly potent chemicals.

Drug agents say they are already seeing a difference in the meth activity after getting these big cooks off the streets, but they are working around the clock on taking down the rest of the meth cooks as well.

Agents are also having a problem with a form of meth called ICE that's coming in from Mexico.

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