La Crosse County Sheriff’s Dept., WCMEG warn of meth waste on roadsides

Meth waste may pose danger for roadside cleaning volunteers

Hazardous material from making methamphetamine may pose a danger while picking up litter on roadsides, and the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department and West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group are trying to get the word out.

They say with the weather warming up, more volunteer groups are likely to participate in roadside clean-up efforts. This, paired with a slight rise in home meth making in the area, made the two groups decide to give community members a reminder.

“Recently has a little bit if an infux in some of those labs throughout the five counties surrounding La Crosse and they can be very dangerous,” said WCMEG Investigative Coordinator, Tom Johnson.

Johnson said drivers can throw of remnants of a shake-and-bake meth lab, like plastic bottles, on the side of the road to get rid of the evidence.

“Generally speaking, methamphetamine manufacturing has an off-colored white tannish residue,” he said. “It can be sort of a milky substance. There can be a variety of looks to it, but obviously, it’s something that doesn’t look normal.”

Johnson said the chemicals involved in making meth can be dangerous.

“The lithium battery strips can react to moisture in skin and create very serious burns,” he said. “All those chemicals can cause extremely serious injuries.”

Brad Quarberg is part of an Adopt-a-Highway group at UW-La Crosse that’s been around for over 20 years. He said though he’s never come across drug remnants, it’s something he reminds the group to keep in mind.

“Be careful, because things like that do happen, and of course you want people to be safe and don’t want them getting hurt especially when they’re doing a volunteer activity,” he said.

Johnson said if you see anything at all suspicious, to leave it alone, and give the county a call.