COLUMBIA, S.C. (SCRN/AP/WVOC) - Law enforcement officials again are reporting a record high number of methamphetamine labs in South Carolina.
The State Law Enforcement Division says it has found nearly 600 labs through last week, easily eclipsing the previous high of 538 last year.
SLED Chief Mark Keel says one problem is the rise of "mobile meth labs," where the necessary chemicals are cooked in a large plastic bottle.
“They're really so simple to do and to make and all the ingredients are readily available,” Keel says, “and so it just makes it a very difficult problem for law enforcement to try and tackle.”
Keel says meth is easily cooked using cold medicine and has continued to spread, even though limits have been placed on how much pseudoephedrine a person can buy.
He says 160 children have been removed from meth lab environments so far this year and the state has spent over $1-million cleaning up contaminated homes and other buildings.
Keel is asking for an additional half-million dollars in state funding next year to help combat the meth problem.